Automotive Weatherstripping: Engineering Factors
December 19, 2017
In order to design automotive parts that stay competitive, it’s important to understand some details behind automotive weatherstripping. Weatherstripping (or weatherseals) is the system that seals any openings in a vehicle to keep out weather conditions. The word is also used to describe the actual materials used to implement these sealing systems.
Weatherstripping (and other sealing solutions) are used for all sorts of automotive applications. They are needed wherever the interior compartment of an automobile or other form of transportation needs to be sealed from the environment. The material you use needs to integrate and function well with the body design of the vehicle.
Engineering Factors for Automotive Weatherstripping
An important factor to consider when selecting material for automotive weatherstripping is the engineering of the parts. Let’s take a look at several engineering factors.
Whether the vehicle is operating at full speed or parked, the weatherstripping must maintain full functionality.
Also, weatherstripping must be flexible enough to address vibrations caused by vehicle movement.
3. Temperature Exposure
The material used must be able to handle subzero temperatures. Conversely, it must be able to tolerate extreme heat and extensive exposure to the sun.
4. Liquid Exposure
Of course, auto weatherstripping should also withstand liquids including gasoline, oil, and methanol (windshield washer fluid). Bumps and vibrations cause movement between the body of a vehicle and movable parts like windows and doors. This movement might cause water to penetrate the vehicle. Weatherstripping must be applied to seal the gap.
5. Noise Reduction
Another important factor to keep in mind is that weatherstripping can play a part in keeping noise out of the passenger compartment, which impacts ride quality. Similar to how the movement between body and movable parts mentioned above causes water to enter, the movement can also cause noises like rattles, squeaks, and creaks to pollute the passenger compartment.
Automotive Weatherstripping Sizes
If we consider a standard four-door vehicle, we can get an idea of weatherstripping size requirements. Each door would need at least 20 feet of material. Every window would require at least 10 feet of material. Trunks would need much larger amounts of material, due to how much more space it needs to seal.
Automotive Weatherstripping Materials
Automotive weatherstripping is usually made of these materials:
- Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) mix of plastic and rubber
- Thermoplastic olefin (TPO) polymer/filler blend
- Silicone (for sunroofs to endure extreme heat)
- EPDM rubber
Weatherstripping performance can be optimized with the application of speciality coatings. Of course, the coating applied must sufficiently adhere to the material used to manufacture the weatherstripping. When the proper coating is chosen and bonds to the weatherstrip, it can offer several benefits such as:
- Reduced force needed to open/close doors (by decreased static of friction)
- Resistance to ultraviolet rays and chemicals
- Eliminated or decreased noise
Need More Information?
We hope this brief guide on automotive weatherstripping gives you actionable knowledge as you continue to build your transportation parts. If you would like more information on the subject, please contact us. Or if you’re ready to purchase weatherstripping for your automotive application, view our weatherstripping products. We can also work with you on designing custom seal solutions, creating various different kinds of automotive weatherstripping profiles that meet your product’s needs.