Engineering Plastics and Polyurethane Systems for engine, powertrain and chassis components
When it comes to the development of challenging components and materials for powertrain and chassis, BASF has been a globally reliable and accepted partner for the automotive industry for decades. The use of engineering plastics, polyurethane systems and additives leads to advantages like weight reduction, functional integration, improved NVH-performance (NVH=noise, vibration, harshness) and cost savings.
Engineering plastics such as Ultramid®, Ultradur® and Ultraform® as well as polyurethane systems like Elastoflex® and Elastofoam® are particularly suitable for components around the engine and along the chassis: With these materials, components along the entire charge-air duct can be designed, but also cylinder head covers, oil pans, engine mounts, transmission and front end carriers, engine covers, different chassis parts as well as components in the cooling circuit and within the fuel system. BASF plastics contribute significantly to fulfilling the diverse and increasing demands of lightweight construction, functional integration, acoustics and safety.
The BASF polyamide Ultramid® is particularly suited for components in the engine compartment and in the chassis as it meets further demands of the automotive industry: global specification of uniform materials from local production, tailor-made grades for different temperatures, pressures and loadings, a high product quality as well as technical support for part simulation, application development and realistic parts testing.
The reductions in fuel consumption and emissions which are prescribed by law in many countries are forcing the automotive industry to act. Besides developing alternative drives, the optimization of traditional combustion engines continues to play a key role. Downsizing results in higher pressures and temperatures, especially in components that carry air behind the turbocharger. BASF is responding to this development in engine designs with a consistent portfolio of PA6 and PA66 grades that meet the higher demands on the materials, their mechanical properties and temperature resistance. Depending on the base polymer and stabilization system, the materials are resistant to heat aging up to 220°C and show excellent burst pressure and weld strength. This means the part developer can be provided with the optimum material for each of the different components in the charge-air duct that offers the best value for money. Selected grades are based on global specifications: They are supplied worldwide from local manufacturing facilities, with uniform material properties and a high level of quality.
With their versatile properties, our PU systems can make powertrain parts safer, lighter and more robust. BASF polyurethanes can be adjusted to many different densities, they can be flexible or stiff, they resist hot and cold temperatures as well as many aggressive media.
Alongside the continued development of cars with more efficient internal combustion engines, chemistry is making an important contribution to a number of different electric drive concepts. Further progress is also being made in the field of fuel cells. In close cooperation with Joma-Polytec and Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH, a subsidiary of Daimler AG, the engineering plastic Ultramid® has successfully been used to manufacture a number of fuel cell system components. This innovative solution is being used as standard in the new Mercedes GLC F-CELL, which combines a fuel cell with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Plastics increase efficiency – not only in hybrid, plug-in and electric vehicles but also in internal combustion engines. The high quality and safety requirements in the automotive industry place huge demands on materials. With versatile and sophisticated polyamides (Ultramid®), polybutylene terephthalates (Ultradur®), polyphthalamides (PPA), and the plastics polyoxymethylene (Ultraform®) and polyethersulfone (Ultrason®), BASF is able to keep pace with car manufacturers’ latest developments, while also setting innovative trends. Technical properties and high functionality are key here. For the Mercedes GLC F-Cell, it is the all-round excellence of Ultramid’s properties that counts: good thermal and chemical resistance, dynamic stiffness, impact strength, and good long-term performance.
In view of the unique material structure, and on the basis of intensive material analyses of the chemical and mechanical resistance, the partners ultimately decided on the tailor-made Ultramid® grades A3WG10 CR and A3EG7 EQ. Following successful testing of all components, the two glass fiber-reinforced Ultramid® grades are now being used as standard to manufacture the anode- and cathode-end plate in fuel cells. Ultramid® A3EG7 EQ is an ideal material, given the exceptional purity requirements associated with sensitive applications in the electronics industry. In the case of the media distribution plate and the water separator unit, which is exposed to a wide variety of media through the cooling water, air and hydrogen channel, this Ultramid® grade offers excellent resistance, while at the same time meeting all requirements regarding the purity of the material.
BASF is now expanding its expertise in top mounts to enable car manufacturers an optimum combination of weight savings, pleasant acoustics and vibration damping. The unique NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) solution is made possible by combining two of BASF's plastic specialties: the micro-cellular polyurethane elastomer Cellasto® and the highly glass-fiber reinforced polyamide Ultramid® A3WG10 CR. The top mount with the Cellasto® element and the Ultramid® housing is around 25 percent lighter than conventional aluminum die-cast versions with rubber. It was developed and optimized for serial production using BASF's simulation tool Ultrasim®.
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