Replacing rubber in an engine cradle mount with DuPont Hytrel TPC/ET thermoplastic elastomer reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions 95 percent as well as cost and weight.
The component, debuting on the 2011Ford Focus C-MAX compact multi-activity vehicle, was named finalist in the 2010 SPE Most Innovative Use of Plastics award in the Chassis/hardware category. ThyssenKrupp Tallent Ltd., Aycliffe (England), was also honored.
"To be named as finalists in this competition is a reward for the hard work of all of the companies involved in this innovative project, which combines both engineering expertise and the unique properties of Hytrel," said Mariusz Makowski, development representative for DuPont Performance Polymers in Poland.
In this application, Hytrel thermoplastic elastomer is molded into a net shape and then severely compressed during assembly. As a result, the material property is changed, significantly enhancing its elasticity to provide greater damping than the rubber it replaces.
"Sometimes the true nature of a material extends the performance data sheet," said Makowski. "That is one of the benefits of engaging the materials team early in a program as we can see the many dimensions of performance."
Hytel exhibits hysteresis phenomena in that it remembers its shape despite severe compression, allowing it to deliver in ways that far exceed rubber in this application. "It is a clear extension of the properties beyond what rubber can do, and it offers environmental and economic advantages," said Makowski.
The characteristics of Hytrel - often the balance of stiffness and elasticity - have helped redefine the role of the CVJ boot and airbag door. It is often used in air duct systems and was a 2007 SPE powertrain category finalist for delivering a dual baffle and sealing function in two transmission systems.
For four decades, the Society of Plastics Engineers has honored the "Most Innovative Use of Plastics" in automotive and ground-transportation applications, becoming the largest competition of its kind in the world and the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries.