High-Performance Polyamides for Engine Cooling Components

may 21 2012

Solvay Specialty Polymers will deliver a technical paper on the use of its high-performance polyamides for engine cooling components at the upcoming ITB Automotive Engine Air and Cooling Systems 2012 conference on May 31 at the Sheraton Detroit Novi Hotel in Novi, Mich. The new technical conference, sponsored by global auto consultancy The ITB Group Ltd., will present and explore key issues related to air induction systems and component developments, turbo charging, charge air cooling, exhaust gas recirculation, engine cooling developments, and materials.

Kirit Desai, technical marketing manager for Solvay Specialty Polymers, will discuss “Delivering Novel Designs and Key Advantages in Engine Coolant Components Using Lightweight Plastics.” The presentation will discuss how OEMs are identifying new ways to reduce the cost and weight of engine cooling components in response to tougher CAFE regulations and stricter emissions standards. Over the years, thermoplastics have replaced metal for thermostat housings and water inlets/outlets and more recently they are becoming the preferred material for water cooled charged air coolers (WCCAC), exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooling, dual-clutch transmission (DCT), and battery-packed cooling, according to Desai.

One of the key differentiating factors for Solvay’s Amodel polyphthalamide (PPA) in engine cooling components is its ability to be injection molded without producing a parting line on the barb of the outlet or inlet tubes. In a typical plastic part, the parting line could be very sharp and could create a cut during installation, resulting in a coolant leak path. To avoid such a quality issue, OEMs specify no parting line in the barbed area. Solvay’s PPA compounds, Amodel AS-1933 HS and AS-1945 HS, have superior elongation at the recommended mold temperature of 135oC (275oF) compared to other PPAs and polyphenylene sulfide (PPS). The material’s elongation allows injection molders to eject the parts from the mold without producing a parting line in the barbed area. Amodel PPA AS grades reduce cost, use simple tooling, and speed cycle times. They have been used successfully by many auto OEMs in numerous heating and cooling components. Among the key design guidelines and recommendations: the maximum undercut ratio should be around 8-9% and the ejection angle should be greater than 150 deg. In case of outlets with a small diameter, it is possible to mold the undercut in the range of 12-13% with a special provision.

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