Bumpers are protective parts installed on the front and back of automobiles. They can be made of steel aluminium or plastic light weight material. Although light, bumpers are made to be tough, flexible, weather resistant and durable. The main purpose of a bumper is to avoid the unnecessary destruction of auto parts by absorbing low-level impacts. They are designed to also protect parking lights and head lamps during the collision. Bumpers are made of different layers such as the vinyl ester resin, multilayer fibreglass and gel coat finish.
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Urethane is an elastomer that contains urethane carbamite links. Among the major benefits of a urethane bumper is its high abrasion and impact resistance properties. In addition, it has high load bearing capacity and a broad hardness range. Urethanes come in two broad categories: ether-based and ester-based. Ester-based urethanes are soft compared with the ether-based urethanes. Urethane is cured by introducing it to heat and then moulded to the proper shape. The most common moulding process used to form urethane bumpers is reaction injection moulding, in which urethane is mixed with a polyisocyanate component and then injected into the moulds.
Vinyl Ester Resin
Vinyl ester resins utilise a polyester resin type of cross-linking molecules.They are recommended for use on front bumpers because they are stronger than polyester resins. This is largely because vinyl ester resins are toughened up by epoxy molecules within the molecular structure. Due to their strength and flexibility, vinyl ester resins provide better resistance to the absorption of moisture than polyester resins. In addition, vinyl ester resins bond well with fibre glass, one of the products used in front bumper manufacture, .
A multilayer fibreglass plastic bumper is characterised by projecting strips formed at intersections. This bumper reinforcement is at the horizontal cross section extending between the top and bottom plates to connect with the rear walls of bumper reinforcement. These strips are located at the front part of the bumper reinforcement to reduce the concentration of stress at these intersections when impact is loaded on the elastic bumper. This helps in increasing the fracture strength at the intersection where the bumper has been reinforced. A plastic bumper reinforced with multilayer fibreglass has top and bottom projecting strips whose role is to reduce the accumulation of stress at the intersections.
Gel Coat Finish
A gel coat is a type of automobile paint that gives the front bumper a smooth finish and adds extra impact strength to that part of the automobile. It is also improves water resistance of the bumpers and prevents blisters from forming after laying the fibreglass mat.
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