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New steps towards renewable materials for car components.

With increasing pressure from government and environmental groups, car designers are faced with the challenge of using more renewable natural materials, whilst improving safety features for car occupants and pedestrians.

Leading journal Plastics, Rubbers and Composites has published a special issue from the AutoPolymers2005 workshop, and the results present developments in new car component design according to these environmental, safety and economic concerns. The papers are of interest to a wide range of researchers in polymer science and technology, and industrialists.

AutoPolymers2005, held in Charleston, SC, was a collaboration between the University of Minho, Portugal and Clemson University, USA, and brought together industrialists and academics to discuss the integration of polymeric systems and fabrication processes into components for the automotive industry.

Guest edited by Antonio Cunha and C A Bernardo of the University of Minho, and J M Kennedy of Clemson University, the special issue features nine papers on topics including:

* Use of polymeric materials for impact and energy dissipation
* Utilisation of conductive nanofibres to enhance transport properties
* Paintability of polymer composites
* Use of carbon materials in automotive composites
The issue also includes a paper on the design of plastic structural pillars that investigates whether such components meet safety requirements by simulating the impact of a human head against the pillar in crash conditions.

Plastics, Rubbers and Composites is an international journal for the processing, properties and modelling of macromolecular and composite materials. Published by Maney Publishing on behalf of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, the journal provides a forum for the publication of original, peer-reviewed research on polymeric and related materials and polymer matrix composites. For more information please visit To view free sample content visit

Alison Holgate | alfa
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