FLEX Conference Pass
Anupam Mukherjee, PhD
Director of Product Development & Marketing
General Silicones, Hsinchu, Taiwan (Republic of China)
In front of rapid transitional growth from linear to circular economy, silicone is a sustainable outstanding thermoset, non toxic & non-plastic elastomeric material having an excellent combination of chemical and mechanical properties like low glass transition temperature, high bond energy, heat and cold resistance, resistance to moisture and stream, flame retardant, thermal & electrical conductivity, superior sealing and encapsulation property, transparency, biocompatibility etc. Following a sustainable life cycle, the research has shown that the use of silicones generates energy savings and may reduce CO2 emission 9 times greater than the impacts of production and recycling. Although Silicone is high value added industrial material with lower carbon footprint, it has rarely been explored in automotive industry due to its inherent lower surface energy which hinders its use of great functional features.
Following ongoing mega trends in automotive industry, named ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared vehicle), the demand of sustainable smart soft automotive interior surfaces is growing rapidly where electronics could be embedded directly with interactive surface materials. Removing the drawback of lower surface energy of silicone causing adhesion, bonding, and printing issues with a modified layer, we become able to explore this silicone materials through prototyping as capacitive touch Human Machine Interface (HMI) surface, Translucent lighting and backlight trim components, a wide range of functional and decorative textured surfaces with soft touch haptics. The sustainability and functional properties of silicone open up a sustainable platform for the automotive interior designers, giving soft tactile feeling with other unprecedented design of freedom.