Traditionally, vehicles were made from materials like wood and metal as these were the strongest and therefore best options available. However, with the growth in popularity of plastics and elastomers in other areas of life, designers began to realise that these polymers offered better properties for use in vehicles. Polymers proved that they could be lighter and stronger than the traditional materials and so they offered light-weight, more fuel-efficient, stronger, safer cars than before. Polymers can be used in virtually all areas of the car; the panels, the ‘paint’ coating, the interior and the gears to name but a few. All-plastic cars are already a reality, but before they reach mass-production level, vehicle producers must ensure that they use plastics responsibly and select materials that may be recycled at the end of the vehicle life.
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