DuPont Co. is introducing a new product portfolio within its Zytel nylon group that should help plastics win more space in the auto industry under the hood and in other parts with demands for both high temperatures and chemical resistance.
Zytel Plus nylon can withstand temperatures at least 86°-104° F higher than its other nylon blends and resists road salt, biofuels and other problematic chemicals. That combination will allow molders and automakers to use plastic in place of metal in more functional places like oil pans, thermostats and even mufflers.
We believe there is a strong need for this, and we believe there will be very high interest, said Gianluigi Molteni, global powertrain segment manager for DuPont automotive performance polymers, in a telephone interview. We expect several development activities. These are all areas that are embryonic and challenging and will require a lot of study.
Zytel Plus, he said, allows molders and automakers to stick to a material they already know and like nylon and develop new parts without needing to switch to other high-temperature alternatives.
Jim Kolb, automotive director for the American Chemistry Council's plastics division in Arlington, Va., said: From a broad perspective, there is a move [in the auto industry] to higher-temperature nylons.
With automakers using higher-efficiency engines and squeezing more content into smaller engine compartments, there is more demand even on existing nylon parts under the hood, he said. To win increased business, plastic parts makers must be able to respond.
It's going to take higher-temperature materials, Kolb said.
Zytel Plus is rated for high temperature and uses DuPont Shield technology, with additives and modifications that resist biofuels, engine fluids and chemicals used to melt road ice. That is becoming a critical need for customers all over the world, Molteni said.
That should result in more use for plastics in parts such as oil pans, cylinder-head covers and tanks, and in new parts. Plastics companies have been eyeing the exhaust muffler for several years. The system represents a large piece of metal on every car, and represents a huge potential growth area. Owens Corning Automotive went public with the potential for a composite muffler in 2002.
Higher-temperature and chemical-resistant nylon integrated with injection molded resonators that control sound in the engine could help molders break through, he said.
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