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New materials for sustainable mobility

By Klaus Bender
Automotive Marketing Manager at DuPont Performance Polymers

As the global automotive industry continues its drive to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, DuPont Performance Polymers puts its strength and collective problem-solving approach to work. The goal? To provide innovative materials and expert application development aimed at enhancing the performance of the final product, improving sustainability and reducing total system cost.

Engine components graphic These efforts initially led to DuPont™ Zytel® PLUS nylon, launched earlier this year, which delivers remarkable resistance to aging despite exposure to high levels of heat and harsh chemicals. Such performance enhancements can help the automotive industry take out even more weight from under the bonnet for improved fuel economy. This October, DuPont Performance Polymers adds new products that invite plastics to be used in applications considered too hot, too harsh and too hostile for non-metals.

Hotter temperatures, harsher chemicals, tighter underhood packaging constraints are the “normal” conditions of today as the industry downsizes engines to meet fuel economy and CO2 reductions while still delivering engines that perform. Moreover, metals do not represent the long-term, sustainable answer. Wildly fluctuating costs, significantly higher specific gravity and constraints on design flexibility severely limit the industry’s ability to innovate. The introduction of new, long-term aging resistant plastics such as Zytel® PLUS nylon showed us very quickly how hungry the industry is for innovative materials that can withstand harsher conditions and reduce weight.

DuPont™ Zytel® PLUS nylon – launched in March, 2010

Best in class air-oven aging – DuPont™ Zytel® PLUS nylon 95G35 core product shows no significant drop in its ability to withstand load – even in 4,000 hour testing – while traditional nylon’s ability to withstand load is cut in halfWhether exposed to calcium chloride or to 3,000 or more hours of hot air, hot oil, water, long-life coolant, members of the Zytel® PLUS nylon family outperform traditional nylon products on the market today. For the automotive industry, this can mean the opportunity to double the lifetime of certain components in the engine compartment compared to those made of standard, heat-stabilized nylon. As a result, there are a multitude of opportunities to replace metal components in the engine compartment or to replace existing polymer applications with more lightweight constructions.

It is for this reason that the initial four chemical-, heat- and oil-resistant grades of Zytel® PLUS have been optimized for targeted automotive applications. The new portfolio launched with:

  • Zytel® PLUS 95G35 nylon – Requisite, core product delivers exceptionally good long-term performance at very high temperatures (up to 210˚C or even 230°C for shorter periods) PLUS provides great surface appearance, resistance to calcium chloride solutions.

  • Zytel® PLUS 95G50 nylon – Exceptionally good long-term performance at very high temperatures (up to 210˚C or even 230°C for shorter periods) PLUS better stiffness, creep at high temperatures.

  • Zytel® PLUS 93G35 nylon – Good long-term performance despite exposure to heat PLUS improved weld lines, good performance in burst tests.

  • Zytel® PLUS 90G30 nylon – Exceptional resistance to hot engine coolant PLUS excellent properties in contact with water.

Target automotive applications include: charge air coolers, exhaust mufflers, turbo air ducts, engine mounts, resonators, cylinder head covers, oil pans, EGR coolers, oil modules, thermostats, transmission components – such as front covers – and radiator end tanks where calcium chloride resistance is especially important due to road treatments.

All grades have a high surface quality and high dimensional stability in common. For instance, the new universal grade Zytel® PLUS 95G35 exhibits a 30% higher degree of gloss and 20% less warpage than a corresponding standard PA grade.

Potential applications for the newly-developed family of nylons include engine compartment components requiring high levels of chemical, thermal and mechanical resistance

Science-driven performance

DuPont™ Zytel® PLUS nylon gains its ability to withstand long term exposure to heat and chemicals from SHIELD Technology, only from DuPont. DuPont™ SHIELD Technology combines several innovations, including a new polymer backbone, polymer modifications and a special set of additives, to enhance many performance characteristics. The exact combination and composition of chemistries are optimized for each product based on the targeted application.

www.zytelplus.dupont.com

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