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The Japanese chemical group Asahi Kasei has announced the first polyamide foam in the world . The material is composed of foam beads, of either a C or a macaroni shape, which then display respectively different properties: Beads in a C shape provide the material with high stiffness, while the macaroni shape increases noise insulation. The beads are manufactured using the steam molding process on standard polystyrene molding equipment, which reduces the amount of raw material required.

Polyamide is characterized by high heat, chemical and oil resistance. Asahi Kasei envisages the PA Foam as a material for engine hoods, for example, which will not only contribute to lessening the weight, but will also insulate against engine noise. The vehicle roof and the seat and floor structure as well could be made lighter with the foam. The material could also be used in the interior to reduce noise for the passengers, says the manufacturer. The PA Foam will be presented at the Foam Expo Europe from September 10 to 12 in Stuttgart.