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Renewable-based polyamide boosts safety for racing drivers

Article-Renewable-based polyamide boosts safety for racing drivers

The new HANS Sport II head and neck support device for racing drivers uses renewably-sourced Zytel RS polyamide from DuPont (Wilmington, DE) to deliver needed impact resistance while significantly reducing weight.  

The new HANS Sport II head and neck support device for racing drivers uses renewably-sourced Zytel RS polyamide from DuPont (Wilmington, DE) to deliver needed impact resistance while significantly reducing weight.


Renewably-sourced polyamide resin proves a lifesaver.

Molded by HiPer Technology Inc. (Lawrence, KS), the new HANS Sport II is the lightest ever Sports Series HANS Device. "Using Zytel RS to injection mold this HANS device enabled us to continue to make the same protection enjoyed by champions in major series around the world available at a reasonable price," said Gary Milgrom, vice president, HANS Performance Products (HPP, Atlanta, GA). The only difference between the Sport and professional models is weight.

The device was invented by Robert Hubbard, Ph.D., a professor of biomechanical engineering at Michigan State University, in conjunction with his brother-in-law, racer Jim Downing. Their goal was to reduce the potential of serious and fatal injuries. Today, the device is credited for saving many lives and is required on circuits run by NASCAR, CART, Formula 1 and NHRA.

The HANS Sport II is 30 percent lighter than the previous Sport model. "Weight is absolutely critical in motor sports applications," said Christopher Bovis, vice president of marketing, HiPer Technology. "We worked very closely with DuPont Performance Polymers as they developed a new grade of Zytel RS that maintained strength and stiffness needed to surpass all national and international safety standards."

This grade of Zytel RS is a toughened carbon-fiber/glass-fiber reinforced polyamide with excellent tensile strength, tensile modulus, flex modulus, impact strength and elongation. The new polyamide compound also has better chemical and moisture resistance versus PA66, making it an attractive "eco-conscious" choice for applications at temperatures below 120°C. Zytel RS products are made from non-food-based renewable sources.

"With Zytel RS, the physical properties and ease of production have allowed HiPer and HANS Performance Products to produce a smaller and lighter HANS Device with integrated features that make exiting a car in an emergency a faster process," said Bovis. "As one of the easiest composite resins we have molded at HiPer, Zytel RS flows very well. The composite is predictable, repeatable and produces an excellent surface finish."

Founded in 2000, HiPer Technology, is a pioneer in structural composite molding through proprietary processes, tooling and part design. Its principle mission is to replace metals with higher performing composites by developing proprietary and strategic private label products that maximize the advantages of their unique thick cross-section molding technology. The company is a leader in safety and performance products, replacing aluminum, steel, and laminate carbon fibers with high-performance, high-volume injection molded composites.

HPP, co-founded by Robert Hubbard and five-time International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) racing champion Jim Downing, was the first company to introduce a head- and neck-restraint to motor racing. Now used by drivers in all major racing series around the world, the patented HANS Device was described by Car and Driver magazine as "The best safety device since the seat belt." More than 140,000 HANS devices have been sold worldwide since first coming to market in 1990. In the ensuing years, HPP has received hundreds of testimonials from star drivers such as Jeff Gordon and recreational race drivers about the life-saving effectiveness of the HANS Device. -[email protected]

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