Encounter – the Audi Technology Magazine 2/2012
The jagged edges look like mountain peaks, the craters in between like valleys. What looks like a landscape beneath the scanning electron microscope is actually a polymer material. The jagged surface has been created intentionally. “Plastic has to be as matte as possible, and we achieve this through the rough microstructure of the surface,” states Helmut Donaubauer from Materials Technology, Interior. In order to create this, the surface of the associated injection molding tool is textured using acid. When the plastic is molded, it takes on the texturing of the tool. The outcome is that the surface of the plastic appears matte, almost like a textile. “That is the manufacturing standard for our plastic components,” says Donaubauer. “The matte, almost fabric-like plastic is a sign of our quality.” It is used for applications such as interior trim. The polymer in the image shows the cover panel for the D-pillar in the Audi Q5.