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Celanese Introduces Sustainable Materials for Car Boots and Bellows

New materials achieve performance requirements while reducing the carbon footprint.

Stephen Moore

June 11, 2024

3 Min Read
CVJ boots
Image courtesy of Celanese.

Celanese has expanded its portfolio of materials for automotive boots and bellows. New solutions include multiple sustainable materials and a new grade suitable for injection molding these parts.

“With Hytrel TPC and Santoprene TPV, Celanese already is the leader in developing thermoplastic elastomer solutions for boots and bellows,” said Frank Reuter, automotive marketing director. “Our new, more sustainable formulations of these materials enable OEMs and their Tier suppliers to pursue even more challenging sustainability goals.”

For decades, OEMs have relied on Santoprene TPV and Hytrel TPC for dependable, durable automotive boots and bellows. The new versions of each material meet the mechanical and performance challenges of these applications and enable OEMs to pursue a more sustainable automotive future.

Formulations for various applications.

Vehicles have different types of boots and bellows, each with their own critical technical requirements, and Celanese develops formulations specific to each application. Many OEMs select Santoprene TPV and Hytrel TPC for boots and bellows when they switch from thermoset rubber, which cannot be easily recycled.

Hytrel TPC LCF thermoplastic elastomer delivers the thermo-mechanical performance, flex fatigue, and processing ease of Hytrel TPC, but reduces a part’s carbon footprint by more than 50% compared to traditional CR neoprene rubber and up to 40% compared with other TPC materials. It also offers a broad service temperature range from -40° to 130°C and features a 40 Shore D hardness.

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Santoprene TPV already provides an easier-to-recycle alternative to thermoset rubber for many automotive applications. The new Santoprene TPV ECO-R provides quality comparable to standard Santoprene TPV grades but with the added benefit of post-consumer recyclate (PCR). Currently available are two grades with a minimum of 15% or 25 % PCR, respectively. Celanese estimates these materials can reduce carbon emissions by up to 59%, compared to a similar component made with EPDM synthetic rubber.

Certified to ISCC+ standard.

Hytrel TPC ECO-B is produced using a biomass balance approach certified by the ISCC+ (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) standard. The plastic value chain is increasingly adopting this approach because it is cost-efficient and benefits the environment. Hytrel TPC ECO-B uses second-generation biomass (bio residue/waste) that does not compete with food/feed resources and does not induce land use change. The ISCC+ certification helps ensure upstream supply chain traceability. It contributes to the implementation of environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable production in global supply chains, enabling the shift to a more circular economy.

Formulation developed for injection molding boots.

In addition to these materials, Celanese is also introducing Hytrel TPC HTR8745LV, developed specifically for injection molding of compact boots mounted on the rear half-shaft drivetrain of vehicles. Injection molding opens more design options for these parts and enables lightweighting and optimized productivity with multicavity tools.

Polymer scientists at Celanese developed a formulation that combines the melt flow (LV = low viscosity) required for injection molding with the flex fatigue required by the application. Other grades for CVJ (constant velocity joint) and diaphragm boots require high viscosity to meet the applications’ requirement for flex fatigue resistance. High-viscosity materials process well with press blow molding, the normal process for manufacturing these applications, but would hinder injection molding throughput.

More sustainability at less cost.

“With these material developments and the continued investment in tools and equipment, we are able to help our customers find solutions to two of their greatest challenges — developing more sustainable mobility and reducing the time and cost to develop new products;” said Laurent Lefebvre, automotive marketing manager. “The response from OEMs and Tier suppliers has been very positive, and parts manufactured from these new Celanese materials are nearing market launch on new electrified vehicles.”

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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