by Steven Mok, PhD
DuPont Automotive Powertrain Programs manager
Co-Authors: Terrence Cressy, Paul Kane, Brian Fish, Karla Butler
Today's powerplants challenge the upper limits of many engineering thermoplastics and especially those charged with the critical task of helping cool components and systems. PPA materials offer great resistance to hydrolysis and moisture and they are relied upon for cost effective applications such as water inlets/outlets, thermostat housings, water pumps and impellers, to mention a few. Tomorrow's challenges notch-up material requirements to include alternative powerplants with extremely high-voltage electrical, electronic power modules and battery systems that need to dissipate heat through coolant channels or be preheated for cold starts.
DuPont has recently developed a series of Zytel® HTN "EF" resin (electrically friendly) and other new PPA resins that meet the new, emerging requirements for high voltage connectors and separate thermal control systems in hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles. These emerging requirements are superior tracking resistance (measured by comparative tracking index), high volume resistivity retention with humidity exposure, good ATF resistance, and USCAR Class 4 performance (150°C). The properties of this new class of PPA resins will be discussed, as will other challenges for materials development on the near-term horizon.
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