Driving Efficient Engine Performance

DuPont News, January 29, 2013
DuPont scientists are developing sustainable technologies that help improve safety, boost performance, lower costs, and enable new auto design freedom.

DuPont’s focus to help the global automotive industry manufacture more efficient and power dense engines really paid off during this year’s Ward’s Ten Best Engines event. 

Eight of the 10 engines elected “best” by this leading automotive publication rely on materials and development support from the global DuPont automotive team. These fuel-efficient engines also reduce carbon dioxide emissions to help the global industry meet new, demanding environmental regulations without sacrificing performance.

“Our materials take the heat, pressure and chemical exposure required to power up smaller engines,” said Chris Murphy, DuPont global automotive industry director. “Again this year, half the winners are small, powerful 4-cyl. engines that perform like their bigger brothers under the hood. Consumers do not want to sacrifice performance for the sake of better efficiency, so the industry is quickly adopting a variety of “power-boost” technologies. They need lightweight materials to design these systems in ways that keep the weight off.”

Often, DuPont materials and technical support are sought to help develop turbocharging systems. These systems must capture, cool and re-circulate hot and contaminated exhaust fumes to help drive the turbo. 

“Many of the forced-air, turbo-system components would have been made of metal if high temperature-resistant materials like Zytel® nylon, Vamac® AEM and Nomex® were not available to keep those extra pounds off,” said Chris.

In 2012, North American automakers built twice as many forced-air engines than they did in 2010.  By 2015, nearly one-third of the new vehicles sold in North America will rely on this type of power-boost technology.

“Automakers are developing multiple new technologies at break-neck speeds to meet the fast-approaching U.S. standards of 54.5 mpg and the global regulations,” said Chris. “We are entrenched with the automakers, focused on delivering the materials and the application technology needed to help them reinvent vehicles. Today’s emphasis on optimizing the internal combustion engines is a mandatory step – but just the first step in this race. More efficient, affordable electric-powered vehicles and lighter-weight, safe vehicles are simultaneously being developed.”

Now in its 19th year, Ward’s evaluates all new or significantly improved engines in vehicles sold below $55,000 in North America to reflect the mass market. New engines compete with the 10 winners from the previous year.  Winners are invited to a celebration hosted during the North American International Auto Show, where this year 50 new vehicles were introduced. 

For more insights on the 2013 winners, visit the WardsAuto website.