Pierre Potier Panel Provides Top Prize to Arkema’s Rilsan HT Ultra High Temperature Biosourced Polymer

The result of over 5 years of research, Rilsan® HT is the first thermoplastic from the polyphthalamide (PPA) family available on the market to combine high temperature resistance with flexibility. These characteristics make it aptly suited to replace metal and rubber in under-the-hood tubing applications.

Six times lighter than steel and three times lighter than aluminium, it therefore helps reduce the weight of vehicles, their fuel consumption and their CO2 emissions. Additionally, this high performance polymer has a renewable carbon content of up to 70%. The Pierre Potier[1] prize panel of judges were won over by this product’s many beneficial features, awarding it the top prize.

The requirements of the latest standards on vehicle emissions (including CO2) have prompted carmakers to develop smaller engines, hence generating very high temperatures, as well as new, lighter fluid transfer systems designed to improve engine yields. Traditional solutions based on metal or metal-rubber assemblies can withstand very high temperatures, but they have the disadvantage of being heavy, sometimes costly and difficult to process.

Meanwhile, polyamides, lighter than metal, and until now available on the market for flexible tubing manufacture, have a narrow scope of under-the-hood applications as they cannot withstand engine temperatures in excess of 150°C.

Eager to address this shortcoming, Arkema’s research has developed Rilsan® HT, a brand new polymer that combines the high temperature stability of metal and rubber with the flexibility and light weight of polyamides. This material is a true ground-breaking innovation for carmakers.

Beyond the limits of the other PPA resins

For decades Arkema has been developing its expertise in polyamide 11, a polymer from a renewable source valued by carmakers for its unique light weight, flexibility, as well as chemical and thermal (up to 150°C) stability properties.

Building on this know-how, Arkema undertook to develop a polyphthalamide (PPA) capable of withstanding both high temperatures and aggressive fluids, while also being flexible (the other PPAs on the market feature a significantly higher intrinsic rigidity) and extrudable. All three characteristics combined for the first time in a PPA-based material. As a result, Rilsan® HT offers hitherto inconceivable metal replacement possibilities.

Straightforward processing and manufacturing cost efficiency

With its extraordinary flexibility, Rilsan® HT features excellent thermoforming and ease of assembly. It is easy to extrude into smooth or corrugated pipes, and so offers great freedom of design, further expanding opportunities for replacing metal or rubber for pipes used in car manufacture, transport, and some industrial applications. It also has the advantage of reducing the overall manufacturing costs and the weight of pipes, while meeting the lifetime requirements of automotive parts.

Derived from renewable raw materials
Rilsan® HT features a non-food plant content of up to 70%. Through its origin and its emissions reduction potential, its contribution to the protection of the environment is therefore twofold.

Rilsan® HT is already much appreciated by many carmakers, who are looking for cost-effective and durable solutions, as a substitute to metal or rubber under the hood.

*Reducing the weight of a vehicle by 100 kg equates to reducing fuel consumption by around 0.4 liter per 100 km, or reducing CO2 emissions by around 1kg per 100 km.

A global chemical company and France’s leading chemicals producer, Arkema is building the future of the chemical industry every day. Deploying a responsible, innovation-based approach, we produce state-of-the-art specialty chemicals that provide customers with practical solutions to such challenges as climate change, access to drinking water, the future of energy, fossil fuel preservation and the need for lighter materials. With operations in more than 40 countries, some 14,000 employees and 10 research centers, Arkema generates annual revenue of €6.4 billion, and holds leadership positions in all its markets with a portfolio of internationally recognized brands.

[1] Created in 2005 by Union des Industries Chimiques (UIC – French Chemical Industries Association) and Fédération Française des sciences pour la Chimie (FFC – French Federation for Chemical Sciences) under the aegis of the French Ministry for Industry, the Pierre Potier prize rewards companies that bring out major chemistry innovations in the field of sustainable development.

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