LANXESS chemistry charts new frontier in sustainable mobility
Online PR News – 22-April-2010 – – Mumbai, 21 April 2010 – German specialty chemicals group LANXESS AG is at the heart of defining the technology for sustainable mobility. This topic will be highlighted by LANXESS at Chinaplas 2010, the largest plastics and rubber trade fair in Asia, through showcase of product breakthroughs by three of its business units. Challenging conventional methods and developing new materials through innovations in chemistry, business units Semi-Crystalline Products, Rhein Chemie and Technical Rubber Products are charting new frontiers in fuel efficiency, safety, and environmental performance.
Reduced weight; improved safety and fuel efficiency
A patented process developed by the Semi-Crystalline Products business unit, the hybrid plastic/metal technology is widely used by leading automobile companies for the construction of vehicle parts—from front-end structures, roof frames and doors to seatings and brake pedals.
The Durethan® polyamide product from LANXESS is the current material of choice for plastic/metal hybrid applications. It offers a combination of stiffness, high strength at varying temperatures, high strain at break, and increased impact resistance.
By reducing the amount of metal needed, car manufacturers are able to save weight—resulting in lower fuel consumption—as well as save costs. For example, LANXESS’ plastic/metal hybrid technology has been used in the front-end construction of the Ford Focus, yielding a 20 percent % reduction in part costs, a 50 percent% reduction in investment cost, and a 40 percent % reduction in weight. At the same time, the structural strength of vehicles is reinforced, which increases the protection to passengers especially during crash incidents.
Plastic/metal hybrid technology too can benefit other modes of travel. Motor scooter frame can benefit from its lower production costs and multi-purpose design capabilities. It enables bicycle frames to improve stiffness and reduce weight. It also provides the torsional stiffness and lightweight construction needed for in-line skates.
In March 2010, LANXESS realized another breakthrough: a composite that combines organic sheets and Durethan®. Previously, steel or aluminum sheet was used as the metal component. Now, for the first time, an organic plastic sheet has been used alongside aluminum sheet in a hybrid front end: for the lower beam of the front end of the new Audi A8, where a U-shaped profile made of the lightweight material is used. Organic sheets are workable plates made of plastics such as polyamide and reinforced with a fabric woven using fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fibers. The plates are heated and then molded to create 3-D parts. When hybrid technology uses organic sheets (in place of steel sheeting) the components created using a composite of polyamide 6 or Durethan® is lighter yet more robust than their metal counterparts. Test results demonstrate that these plastic sheets can absorb considerably more energy than classic hybrid solutions. Because the parts are easier to shape, they are simpler and more economical from a logistics and assembly standpoint. Hybrid components produced with organic sheets also require no anti-corrosion protection, since plastic does not rust.
Better design and function of bonnet, fuel and engine systems
From the Semi-Crystalline Products business unit, the Durethan® polyamide products offer an ideal combination of properties for the automotive industries. They combine high mechanical strength and stiffness with good electrical insulation properties, high resistance to heat and chemicals, low friction, wear resistance and the dampening of noise and vibration plus outstanding ease of processing.
With these properties, LANXESS’ Durethan® products have enabled the automotive industries with unparalleled design and technical flexibility in enhancing performance and safety, while improving on production efficiencies.
The Durethan® BKV 315 Z H2.0—a high-viscosity, crosslinked polyamide 6 reinforced with 15% glass fiber grade developed especially for extrusion applications—is used by a French manufacturer in the substructure of an engine bonnet. Despite its size, the 1 meter wide x 2 meter long x 0.5 meter high engine bonnet remains lightweight and highly dimensionally stable.
The primary task of the fuel filter is to filter out any solid inorganic or organic impurities present in the fuel. The Durethan® DP BCF 30 X H2.0—a polyamide 6 reinforced with 30% glass and carbon fibers--besides its design freedom, strength and high dimensional accuracy, offers significantly increased conductivity to reduce unwanted build-up of static on the filter. In addition, the oil filter wrench made of Durethan® DP BKV 60 H2.0 EF offers advantages, such as weight saving, impact strength and costs.
The highly reinforced polyamide 66 (PA 66) is also used often by the automotive industry for the production of components for the cooling system. Take the example of the cooling water manifold made of Durethan® DP AKV 50 HR H2.0, a PA 66 from LANXESS reinforced with 50% glass fibers. The high stiffness of this material means that the ignition coil can be fixed to the cooling water manifold via an integrated support. This compact design enables the space required for the engine to be reduced.
In view of the ever higher temperatures encountered in the cooling circuit, a further advantage of the hydrolysis-resistant and heat-stabilized PA 66 is its good long-term resistance to hot cooling media. This is also confirmed by comparative tests using the standard Durethan® AKV 50 material as a reference. Specimens of both materials were immersed for over 500 hours in a water-glycol mixture (1:1) at 130°C and a pressure of 2 bar, and their mechanical properties subsequently determined. After immersion, Durethan® DP AKV 50 HR H2.0 exhibits over 50% percent better values for flexural modulus and flexural strain, and 70% percent better impact strength than the standard material.
Stabilizing a polymer with Stabaxol® from the Plastics Division of Rhein Chemie business unit brings about an up to threefold increase in its service life. In vehicles, for example, polyester-based cellular Polyurethane elastomers are used as auxiliary suspension springs. The addition of Stabaxol® helps prevent premature failure of auxiliary springs from aging and increases the service life of the complete suspension strut. The advantages are vehicle stability and greater safety for passengers. With better distribution of weight pressure, tires also last longer.
Electrical insulation within vehicles, high-speed train
When automobiles and high-speed trains are running ahead fast and furious, the network of electrical cables that keep the action going must be in solid condition. These cables are often made from ester-based polymers such as thermoplastic polyether-ester elastomer (TPEE), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), which have outstanding physical and electrical insulation properties but are sensitive to hydrolysis. Stabaxol® from Rhein Chemie is an indispensable stabilizer protecting these cables from degradation through contact with water or other fluids in the engine system, thereby ensuring their durability and the safety of the vehicles.
Excellent feet protection and shoe durability for adventure sports
Stabaxol® is also a reliable partner in high altitude sports. In the shoe soles of ski and snowboard boots and safety shoes, Stabaxol® is added to the TPU material to provide long-lasting hydrolysis stabilization. This means footwear with excellent resistance to oil and gasoline and good shock absorption. It also enables the TPU shoe sole to be of low density and high flexibility, which keeps the shoe relatively lightweight. All these facilitate safe movement and increase the confidence of the adventurer venturing on steep slopes and unknown terrains ahead.
Chemistry of sound on the move
The elastomer-modified and highly impact resistant reinforced polyamide 6, Durethan® BKV 215, is a tried and proven material for window surround. Besides covering and protecting the painted car door frame from bumps and damage, it makes possible the integration of a motor for adjusting the wing mirror or a loudspeaker.
These surrounds are produced by injection molding with a hot runner system and multi-point gating. Despite the component’s thin walls and its length, the numerous weld lines of the 15% glass fiber reinforced polyamide are not visible. The window surround thus offers the required high-quality and finely textured surface. Durethan®’s good resistance to chemicals—such as greases, oils, fuels and cleaning agents—rounds out its outstanding property profile.
Improving environmental performance
An innovation from the Technical Rubber Products business unit, the Nanoprene® rubber additive can significantly improve wet grip and rollingabrasion resistance as well as help increase the tire’s lifespan and reduce abrasion. Moreover, a modified version of this product—as a component in fuel cell membraness—enables an increase of the reaction temperature from 60°C to 200°C and thereby can significantly increase the efficiency of the engine of the future.
LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 5.06 billion in 2009 and currently around 14,300 employees in 23 countries. The company is represented at 43 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by LANXESS AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
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