Formaldehyde in Automotive Applications

For example, many ‘under-the-hood components’ such as fuel pumps, transmission parts and brake pads are produced with formaldehyde-based resins.
Other formaldehyde based applications include the decorative laminates of car interiors, engine lubricants, vulcanized rubber tyres and lightweight polyurethane foams for automobile door insulation.

The following formaldehyde-based resins and chemicals are used to make automotive parts. Please click on the headings below for more information.

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Melamine formaldehyde (MF) resins
Melamine formaldehyde (MF) resins are fast-curing, can withstand high temperatures and have excellent chemical resistance. They are used in the surface coatings of automobiles and to make decorative laminates for automobile interiors.

Phenol formaldehyde (PF) resins
Phenol formaldehyde (PF) resins have high moisture and chemical resistance as well as high heat resistance. These properties make phenol resins ideal for under-the-hood molded automobile components such as engine, transmission and brake parts. PF resins also have high friction resistance and are used to make brake pads, clutches and automatic transmission parts as well as decorative laminates for automobile interiors.

Polyoxymethylenes (POM)
Polyoxymethylenes (POM) are formaldehyde-based thermoplastics that have replaced many metal parts in automobiles. In the EU, one of the largest applications for POM is the manufacture of fuel pumps in cars due to its superior resistance to gasoline and its excellent lubricant properties. POM is also used to make:

  • Gear selectors
  • Plastic components of seat belt systems
  • Automatic transmission parts
  • Locks, hooks, fasteners, clips and mirrors
  • Car heater plates
  • Steering column shear pin parts
  • Control switches and instrument knobs
  • Suspension links
  • Door handles, door catches and window cranks
  • Tyre valve stems
  • Trunk release levers
  • Electrical switch parts
  • Exterior and interior trim
  • Windshield washer nozzles
  • Light sockets
  • Fuel system components
  • Fan parts and car ventilation grille

Methylene bis (dephenyl di-isocyanate) (MDI)
Formaldehyde is used to make Methylene bis (dephenyl di-isocyanate) (MDI), a building block for polyurethane foams. Applications for MDI include the rigid, lightweight foams found in automobile doors for insulation as well as the semi-flexible foams that provide excellent support and comfort for car seats. Polyurethane coatings made with MDI are also used as finishes and sealants for car doors and windows as well as adhesives to secure bumpers, spoilers and interior panels.

1,4-Butanediol (BDO)
Formaldehyde is a chemical building block of 1,4-Butanediol (BDO), which is then converted into other substances like polybutylene terephthalate resins (PBTs). In automotive applications PBTs are used to make car bumpers and metal parts in car engines.

Pentaerythritol (Penta)
Formaldehyde is used to make pentaetythritol (Penta), a versatile building block for the production of a number of chemicals and materials such as alkyd resins. Because alkyd resins are durable, low-cost and have high heat and chemical resistance, they are found in the product finishes and coating for automobiles. Penta is also used to make neopolyol esters, an ingredient in lubricants for gas and diesel engines.

Hexamine
Hexamine is a specialty chemical produced from formaldehyde and ammonia. In automotive applications, hexamine is an accelerator in the production of vulcanized rubber which is used to make automobile tyres.