A new generation of IR-absorbing colorants for heat protection

Bayer MaterialScience AG has developed a new generation of IR-absorbing, transparent colorants for automotive glazing with the polycarbonate Makrolon® AG 2677. The colorants filter out the sun’s infrared (IR) rays and help to keep the automobile interior cooler when exposed to sunlight. The new colorants can be combined using a modular system that allows a great deal of flexibility in terms of the coloration of the glazing and the concentration of IR absorbers. “We can now offer our customers a service better tailored to their requirements and develop a customized solution for every glazing component, thereby ensuring optimum protection against heat,” explains Dr. Rolf Wehrmann, an expert in the Automotive Glazing Team at Bayer MaterialScience.

The modular system is based on commercially-available IR absorbers with very low levels of inherent color that are compatible with the transparent polycarbonate matrix and do not compromise its high optical quality. The system’s flexibility is demonstrated by its ability to combine IR-absorbing materials with colorants and thus create a very precise absorption profile. Compared with certain types of glass with the same level of optical transmission, automotive glazing made from Makrolon® and equipped with these new IR colorants is far superior in absorbing radiant heat from the sun. Unlike glass, it also offers real protection from UV rays which can cause many materials in automotive interiors to age faster.

In developing high-performance heat protection for glazing components made from Makrolon®, Bayer MaterialScience attaches great importance to close cooperation with OEMs and system suppliers. The technical specifications provided by the customer, such as the transmission and approximate chromaticity coordinate, form the start of the development chain. “We use these criteria to come up with a formulation that will produce the best heat protection possible. We then create a color sample panel which is passed to our development partners for checks, or for their own testing. If necessary, the heat protection package is then fine-tuned during a number of additional stages,” explains Wehrmann.

Makrolon® AG 2677 is a polycarbonate specially developed for use in automotive glazing. Its characteristics include extreme purity and a high level of transparency, while its processing properties make it ideal for injection molding and injection-compression molding. This high-tech thermoplastic has already been utilized in a number of vehicles, including the panorama roof of the smart fortwo and the rear roof module of the Mercedes-Benz GL.

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