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Materials Update 19999

February 1, 2003

4 Min Read
Materials Update

Polyamide takes on direct-injection manifold

materials_1 (11K)

Mann+Hummel used two grades of BASF’s 30 percent glass-filled Ultramid PA 6 to withstand the demands of the intake manifold on Audi’s latest A4.

Using two grades of glass-filled polyamide 6 from BASF, Mann+Hummel created what is reportedly the first active-manifold system for direct-injection gasoline engines made from plastic. Found in the Audi A4 2.0 FSI 4V, the active-manifold system is especially designed for the German car’s direct-injection engine. Engine configurations that apply direct-injection technology send fuel directly into the combustion chamber, unlike conventional engine design. This is said to increase power and torque while reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.

Although the design optimizes an engine’s performance, it places added stress on the manifold. Due to exhaust gas recirculation, the manifold must endure high temperatures and corrosive chemicals. To operate under such circumstances, Mann+Hummel chose two grades of BASF’s 30 percent glass-filled, heat-stabilized, PA 6 resins: Ultramid B3WG6 and Ultramid B3EG6 titanium gray. The manifold’s lower and inner parts are molded from the B3WG6; the upper shell uses the B3EG6 titanium gray for a metallic appearance that can withstand rigorous underhood conditions.

BASF says the dimensional, thermal, and chemical stability of the Ultramids make them an ideal choice for a load-intensive application like a manifold. The subassembly is molded and vibration welded, and the molded-in titanium gray color reportedly will survive a difficult life under the hood, fulfilling the Audi designers’ desire for a nonpainted component that wouldn’t lose color to nicks and scratches.

The manifold’s interior components are also molded from Ultramid including the rotary valve drum, the sealing cage, and portions of the continuous variable tumble system flange. Those components are used to control air flow and create a finely distributed, homogenous air/gasoline mixture, further improving the engine’s performance.

BASF Plastic Materials, Mt. Olive, NJ
(973) 426-2600

materials_2 (13K)High-styrene polymers promise clarity, impact resistance

Kraton Polymers introduced the next generation of high-styrene polymers in its D-1400P Series at Pack Expo 2002 (Nov. 3-7). Three new transparent, toughened styrenic block copolymers (SBCs) are said to provide good clarity and impact resistance in packaging applications. The new series, which includes Kraton D-1403P, D-1431P, and D-1493P, is designed to add key performance benefits to polystyrene formulations and offer ductility and processing benefits to rigid and film packaging applications. All three polymers are recyclable, meet FDA requirements for food contact, and have passed U.S. Pharmacopoeia Class VI toxicology testing. They are available in a range of melt flows to provide customized benefits for a variety of production processes. Higher-flow Kraton D-1403P allows faster processing and increased molding cycle efficiency. The polymer contains slip agents so that it can be shipped and stored in bulk.—Clare Goldsberry
Kraton Polymers, Houston, TX
(800) 457-2866; www.kraton.com 

design_3 (10K)Polymer selection software

One of the first steps in any product design is the selection of a material. Software tools have automated and simplified this process somewhat, but a new polymer selection program uses advanced search criteria to find materials that better suit an application’s needs. According to its creator, the new CES Optimal Polymer Selector package from Granta Design is systematic, design led, and scientifically based. After entering criteria for an application material, many polymer selection programs reportedly indicate that there are no materials for the job when there in fact are, but the search criteria have eliminated viable options.

More problems can occur when design requirements don’t translate into material properties. One example of application needs being lost in a resin database is if material selected for a stiff panel isn’t necessarily suitable for a stiff beam. Other factors like price and performance can become muddled as well.

Granta’s program applies three modules to refine initial searches according to the chemical environment the part will encounter. CES PolymerUniverse, CES Campus, and CES ChemRes use a generic database in which each data sheet represents all similar materials from all manufacturers to locate specific commercial grades in the search’s second stage.

The software uses performance indices (for example, light panel or stiff beam) and graphical charts to choose the optimal material. Granta says its CES PolymerUniverse is the broadest generic database of its kind, covering virtually all filled and unfilled plastics available. It includes a broad range of properties with complete data sheets.

The CES Campus module, developed in conjunction with M-Base (Aachen, Germany), contains the full set of Campus data for participating suppliers, allowing easy access and grade selection. The CES PolymerUniverse module ranks polymers by their resistance to chemicals. More than 190 chemicals are included ranging from olive oil to sulfuric acid.Granta Design Ltd.

Cambridge, U.K.
+44 (1223) 518 896

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