Aqdot, a chemtech company based in Cambridge, UK, has developed its new AqFresh technology for the automotive interiors market.
It works by capturing VOCs from PVC and PU materials, to a level that means they consistently pass the threshold of the VDA-270 assessment protocol for automotive interiors. This enables materials treated with the technology to consistently score below the accepted 3.0 threshold level on the 1-6 scale, to meet the industry standard.
The odor capture technology can be added to automotive interior materials and consists of cucurbiturils – barrel-shaped molecules with a hydrophobic cavity and polar portals. Their structure enables exceptionally tight capture and binding of unwanted molecules. The technology has been proven to capture the eight key VOCs found in automotive interiors: acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, ethylbenzene, formaldehyde, styrene, toluene and xylene.
According to the company, research shows that 79% of consumers experience malodors in their car. As well as the obvious sources such as poor ventilation, fumes and body odor, a key problem cited by car users is the leather and plastic smell particularly prevalent in new cars. Having commissioned a survey of over 500 global consumers in the USA, UK, France, Italy and China, Aqdot found that 86% of respondents felt malodor negatively affects their mood, and 69% are now more concerned than ever about indoor air quality.
Malodorous VOCs are not just an issue of customer satisfaction, as many countries are introducing guidelines or legislation. For example, China introduced the GB/T 27630-2011 “guideline for air quality assessment of passenger cars” in 2012, which covers testing methods and maximum automotive interior emissions. This is expected to become a legal requirement for M1-class vehicles (passenger models with up to eight seats).
Under test conditions, AqFresh powder was placed side-by-side with polyvinyl chloride/polyurethane in a glass jar and a trained panel rated the VOC odor emissions from the jar. The VDA odor test is run by Aqdot using trained assessors selected according to ISO 8586 for their ability to discriminate and describe malodor. They are trained and assessed quarterly using validated polymeric standards provided by a qualified supplier.
When testing materials, the panel follows the ISO 4121 and VDA 270 tests to evaluate the impact of the AqFresh counteractant. The panelists evaluate the odor intensity based on the scale from 1 to 6 (not detectable to extremely strong odor) and the hedonic tone from -4 extremely unpleasant to +4 extremely pleasant.
AqFresh is available as powder which has been successfully demonstrated to reduce the malodor VOC emissions of materials made from PVC and PU. Aqdot is now offering a free VDA test report on the impact of AqFresh added to textile/coating manufacturers’ material.
For more details and to request a free report, visit the Aqdot website offer page here aqdot.com.