Issue: Jan 2007


Energy absorbing foam solution for NASCAR’s new safety-driven Car of Tomorrow



by James Hilton

Dow Automotive, a major technology and solutions provider to the global auto industry, announced today an automotive licensing partnership agreement with NASCAR. In addition, Dow Automotive will become the exclusive provider of energy absorbing foam solutions for NASCAR’s new safety-driven Car of Tomorrow Project.
As part of the multi-year agreement with NASCAR, Dow Automotive joins the NASCAR Automotive Licensing program. This provides Dow Automotive the opportunity to leverage the NASCAR Performance brand in their sales and marketing efforts.


Every Car of Tomorrow will utilize IMPAXX™ Energy Absorbing Foam provided by Dow Automotive. NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow will race in 16 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events in 2007, beginning with the race at Bristol Motor Speedway in late March. Other Dow Automotive technologies and products are being evaluated for future use as NASCAR continues to review its future plans and programs.

“We are enthused to have established this close working partnership with an organization the caliber of NASCAR,” said George Hamilton, President of Dow Automotive. “We all know and appreciate the dramatic step in safety NASCAR has taken with the Car of Tomorrow, and from the beginning of our collaboration we knew the widespread use of IMPAXX foam in millions of passenger cars would provide the important data and information needed for confident use in this high stress environment.”

A number of inherent proven characteristics were critical to NASCAR’s decision to mandate the use of IMPAXX foam in every Car of Tomorrow.

“Our team at the NASCAR R&D Center has been studying ways in which energy can be absorbed during impacts on the race track and the energy management material developed by Dow Automotive is what we found worked the best,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition. “Through our combined efforts and shared technology, we believe the new energy absorbing foam that will be placed between the roll cage door bars and door panels on the Car of Tomorrow will help make it safer for the driver.”

IMPAXX foam is designed to absorb and attenuate energy in a crash. The energy of the impact is managed through a series of controlled reactions within the foam. The result is a controlled release of energy, allowing forces to be better spread throughout the vehicle from the time of impact to the end of the crash sequence.

While safety was the primary driver in the move to the Car of Tomorrow, efficiency of use is another important factor, and one in which IMPAXX foam also contributes. The material benefits from a well-tested and flexible manufacturing process that adds greatly to its ease of adaptability for specific NASCAR use, therefore making the solution very cost efficient.

Just as in mass production passenger vehicle use, IMPAXX foam benefits also include:
 Being up to 50% lighter than comparable energy absorption materials and 30% more efficient

 Consistent performance at temperature extremes

 Great flexibility in fitting into pre-determined spaces, as it can be cut and shaped into any form and size

 Fast and efficient production methods enable great reliability in supply

NASCAR and Dow Automotive have worked together for 18 months on this Car of Tomorrow safety project. It has benefited from an exhaustive research and development process, beginning with its evaluation for mainstream passenger vehicle use. NASCAR utilized finite element computer analysis and actual race track testing to prove IMPAXX™ Energy Absorbing Foam performance. Now it’s ready to help launch the Car of Tomorrow and a new era in America’s favorite sport.


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