Saturday, December 28, 2013

DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA Resin Replaces Metal in Ford's Engine Cooling Component

The new Ford 3.5L and 3.7L engine manifold uses a cross-over coolant component made of DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA resin instead of brazed metal, shaving one pound to improve fuel economy. Behind the scenes, the running change illustrates the trend toward using high performance thermoplastic where it is essential. And it shows how collaboration in the value chain continues to drive cost and weight saving by developing and investing in innovative techniques to help the industry meet new fuel and emissions regulations.
The team from Illinois Tool Works, Inc. (ITW) in Ohio arrived at DuPont's Innovation Center in Troy to brainstorm how to integrate a crossover coolant component into a V6 engine manifold that is made of traditional nylon polymer. The crossover coolant component is a hollow port that allows engine coolant to bypass the manifold as it circulates through the engine. Traditional nylon 6 polymer doesn't withstand long-termexposure to heat and long-life coolant, so the ITW team was receiving the component made of brazed metal, which was heavy and expensive.

While DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA is frequently used in engine cooling components because it can withstand the long term exposure to heat and long life coolant, the intense pressure of the overmolding process needed to integrate the component into the manifold system was damaging the hollow component.

The cross-functional team approached the challenge from several perspectives related to design, material and processing. Over the following weeks the team modified the material and the design using advanced computer models to inform the prototype. ITW invested in cavity-pressure sensing technology from RJG, Inc. to understand pressures inside the molding cavity. The data was used to pinpoint where design changes could add structure and to control the process so the prototype could scale into production quickly.
"Getting accurate data about pressures and conditions inside the molding cavity significantly improved our ability to evaluate the material, iterate more efficiently on design and shorten the development cycle," said Tyler Terrell, ITW project manager. "This was a really tough challenge and we used every technology we could to get this part into production. The collaboration between the members of this team really made the difference."
"There's a growing trend toward using high-performance materials only where they are needed," said Pat Granowicz, powertrain segment leader, DuPont Automotive Performance Polymers. "This can lead to challenging designs and demand innovative processing solutions. Modelling based on how a material behaves in processing and in use is critical."

The new integrated coolant crossover debuts on Ford's 3.5L and 3.7L V6 engine that powers the Ford Taurus, Flex, Edge and Explorer. In addition to significant weight savings, the running change eliminated several steps in the value chain associated with processing and machining powder-coated metal. For the advances, Ford and the team from ITW and DuPont were named finalists in the Society of Plastics Engineers Most Innovative Use of Plastics Award in the Process/Assemby/Enabling Technology category.

It was one of two 2013 finalists. The other — an acoustic shield mounted on the 2013 Hyundai Elantra and Forte cylinder block — was developed by a team from Hyundai Motor Company, NVH Korea Co., Ltd. and DuPont. The application relies on heat and flame resistant DuPont™ Nomex® brand fiber to withstand the demanding engine environment. DuPont offers more than 100 materials and product families for the global automotive industry. Through its global application development network, DuPont Automotive is committed to collaborating with customers throughout the value chain to develop new products, materials, components and systems that help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and protect people and the environment.

Source: DuPont

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

UD's Prof. Wins EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for Developing Biobased Composites

The Environmental Protection Agency has honored the University of Delaware's Richard Wool with its Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his extensive work developing bio-based materials to support the green energy infrastructure.

Wool was recognized during a presentation at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Now in its 18th year, the EPA awards program recognizes the design of safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes and products. Awards are conferred annually in five categories: Academic, Small Business, Greener Synthetic Pathways, Greener Reaction Conditions and Designing Greener Chemicals.

Wool, UD professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of the Affordable Composites from Renewable Resources (ACRES) program, is among the world leaders in developing safer chemical substances from renewable resources through processes that require less water and energy, and produce less hazardous waste compared to petroleum-based processes.

The products can be used as adhesives, composites and foams — even circuit boards, hurricane resistant energy efficient roofs and leather substitutes. "Finding low toxicity replacements for commodity plastics such as polystyrene and PVC, adhesives, foams and composite resins, in addition to leather-like materials, must be a priority if we are to benefit the environment and human health," said Wool.

Wool became passionate about sustainability in the early 1990s when he served as chairman of the American Society for Testing and Materials committee for biodegradable plastics. The committee included representatives from the farming community, state governments and major corporations, as well as environmentalists and members of the academic community.

"I became critically aware of the issues surrounding waste management, recycling, climate change and the protection of our natural resources," he said. "I began to wonder if there was a better way."

This motivated Wool to incorporate green chemistry and green engineering solutions into his research. He created several high-performance materials using biobased feedstocks, including vegetable oils, lignin, chicken feathers and flax. He developed hurricane resistant roofing with colleagues in UD's civil and environmental engineering department in response to issues in global warming. He has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the South African government to further its development of biobased township housing using ACRES inventions.

In 2012, Dixie Chemical began producing Wool's bio-based composite resins for a worldwide market. His discoveries have led to the development of soy-based composites used in boats, tractor panels and wind turbine parts.

One of Wool's more recent inventions is a breathable, bio-based eco-leather that avoids the traditional leather tanning process. This environmentally-friendly product, developed as a collaboration between researchers in Wool's ACRES group and colleagues in UD's fashion and apparel studies department, has resulted in collaborations with well-known companies such as Nike, Puma and others to use the leather substitute in their products. He shares a patent with Nike on the development of its new environmentally friendly air bubbles for athletic shoe wear.

"Ten years ago, green chemistry and engineering was a novel concept, but today, we are reaching a critical mass of individuals focused on sustainability and the environment," said Wool. "This award lends credibility to what we are doing, and my hope is that it will cause some to give us a second look."

Current and former students and colleagues in the ACRES group who contributed to Wool's green research will also be recognized during the ceremony.

Source: University of Delaware

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Eastman Tritan™ Copolyester Finds Application in Air Sentry's New Line of Desiccant Breathers

Air Sentry, among the leading manufacturers of contamination control products, looked to Eastman Tritan™ copolyester to help create a new standard for its line of desiccant breathers. The company, based in Rockwall, Texas, selected Tritan, a new-generation copolyester, for its toughness and chemical resistance, and because it is free of bisphenol A (BPA).
Guardian, Air Sentry's newest line of desiccant breathers, is the company's first product line to be made with Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. The devices are cylindrical with a clear, extruded tube made with Tritan at the center. The product is designed to replace the original equipment manufacturer breather cap or air filter on gear boxes, hydraulic fluid reservoirs, bulk storage tanks, oil drums, transformers and other fluid reservoirs.

Downtime reduced; new applications realized:

Moisture breaks down the properties of lubricants and fuels creating equipment wear as harmful as wear from debris. According to Air Sentry, contamination-related lubricant failure accounts for more than 70 percent of unplanned equipment downtime. Guardian is designed to adsorb water from the air before it enters the fluid system and removes particulate contaminants as small as 2 micron. With these breathers, approximately 95 percent of all humidity going into the equipment headspace can be removed.
"We searched for a material that could exceed existing performance limitations with regard to temperature, chemical and impact resistance and that also was BPA-free," said Scott Dunbar, vice president, filtration and protective coatings. "Extensive research led us to Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, which has the best combination of the qualities we were looking for."
With these desirable properties, Eastman Tritan™ copolyester allows users to install Guardian in areas where previous installations had to be remotely mounted or were not suitable for plastic breathers, including those subject to higher temperatures, vibration and exposure to chemicals.

New process:

Air Sentry had such confidence in Eastman Tritan™ copolyester that it upgraded its fabrication process to manufacture its Guardian line. The spin-welding technique allows for a single-piece manufacturing flow rather than batch processes used for its other lines. Eastman provided support as Air Sentry moved to the new process, which has reduced cycle times.
"Eastman's technical support and expertise in plastic molding techniques has been greatly valued," Dunbar said. "The extensive test data available for Eastman Tritan™ copolyester gave us confidence we were developing a product that would differentiate itself in the market."
Air Sentry has been pleased with Guardian's performance, and the product has seen a strong, positive market response. The new product — which Dunbar noted is the best new product launch in the company's history — helped Air Sentry increase market share in a short time.
Air Sentry is investigating additional applications using Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. The continued collaboration between the two companies provides additional opportunities to demonstrate Tritan performance in industrial applications.
"Eastman Tritan™ copolyester has been used extensively in the durables and medical markets, and this collaboration shows the material also is an excellent option for a variety of industrial applications," said Rob Costella, durables, market develop manager, Eastman Chemical Company. "Eastman is committed to working with its customers to develop products that have game-changing potential."
Air Sentry's products are sold worldwide to industries that use capital-intensive equipment to produce their products and services. The products are typically sold through distributors who carry other industrial products or lubricants.

Source: Eastman Chemical Company

Friday, December 13, 2013

Evonik's SEPURAN® Green Membrane Tech. Gets 2013 German Innovation Prize for Climate & Environment

With a level of purity approaching 99 percent, SEPURAN® Green high performance polymers from Evonik Industries make biogas processing much more efficient. For this achievement, the company has now received the 2013 German Innovation Prize for Climate and the Environment in the "Environmentally friendly technologies" category. The prize is awarded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federation of German Industry (BDI). Dr. Dahai Yu, responsible for the Specialty Materials Segment in the Executive Board: "Innovations are a major contribution towards overcoming the challenges of the future. This also includes securing energy supplies practically from economical, ecological, and social aspects. With SEPURAN® Green, Evonik shows what the chemical industry can do to make this happen."

Biogas, which consists mainly of the gases CO2 and methane, is regarded as an environmentally friendly form of energy. Before biogas can be fed into the natural gas grid it requires a considerable amount of processing and cleaning. The SEPURAN® Green membrane technology from Evonik now makes this process much more efficient and environmentally friendly.
"Our SEPURAN® membranes are made from a high performance polymer that we developed in-house," says Dr. Goetz Baumgarten, Head of the SEPURAN® business. "This polymer gives the membrane a particular property so that it is especially able to distinguish between methane and CO2."
But the membrane alone is not enough. A conditioning process for biogas, tailored especially to the membranes from Evonik, makes optimum use of their separation properties: In a three-stage process, the methane can be concentrated out of the crude gas with just one compressor and an especially high methane yield. In addition, the methane-rich gas does not have to be compressed further before it is fed into the natural gas grid.
This membrane process is up to 20 percent more energy efficient than alternative methods. Besides, no auxiliary chemicals are required. No waste or wastewater is produced.
Evonik initially trialed SEPURAN® Green in a test plant beside the Vöckla River in Neukirchen, Austria. Since then, several biogas processing plants using SEPURAN® Green technology has been put into operation. Evonik is continuing to develop the SEPURAN® technology for new applications, such as separating hydrogen and recovering nitrogen from compressed air.
With the German Innovation Prize for Climate and the Environment the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federation of German Industry (BDI) acknowledge German industry's commitment to climate and environmental protection. This year was the fourth time that the prize has been awarded. The winners were chosen from among 97 contestants in five categories.

Source: Evonik

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Toyota Develops PP- & Plant-derived PA11-based Plastic Alloy with High Impact Strength

Toyota Boshoku Corporation, among the premier manufacturers of automotive interior systems, and Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc., contributing to present and future businesses of Toyota Group companies through technological innovations, announce that they have developed an original technique to realize a bio-based plastic alloy with top-class impact strength. The bio-based plastic alloy (bio-alloy) is made from polyamide 11 (PA11), a 100% bio-based resin originating from plants and synthesized by castor oil*1 extracted from Ricinus Communis (castor bean plant) as a raw material, and polypropylene (PP) derived from petroleum-based resin. The performance of this high impact bio-alloy surpasses polycarbonate alloys.

The impact strength of the bio-alloy was achieved by controlling the phase structure of PP and PA11 at the nano level through a "salami structure*2" mixture (dispersion) resulting in the world's first "salami in co-continuous phase structure*2". To improve the chemical characteristics (affinity) of raw materials, a special reactive compatibilizer was added to the raw materials and a molten blended technology was carried out to lead to a chemical reaction. By utilizing this technology, Toyota has achieved an impact strength bio-alloy that is 10 times greater than that of PP conventionally used in car interior decoration parts and 13 times greater than that of bio-based plastic (PP/PLA). When this bio-alloy is put to practical use, the adaptation of bio-based plastic for automotive parts can be significantly expanded. In particular, interior decoration parts such as automotive door trims, installment panels or as a collision energy absorber to increase part safety impact strength and rigidity that are necessary for passenger protection at the time of crash. Furthermore, this bio-alloy can be applied to exterior automotive parts made from resin such as fenders or bumpers.

Toyota Group's Toyota Boshoku and Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc. plan to further improve the development of this technology including material technology aimed at early practical use of this bio-alloy, to contribute to the making of cars that harmonize with the global environment.
*1 Seeds of the castor plant (a non-edible plant) of the Euphorbiaceae are cultivated in tropical and temperate zones. PA11 is obtained by the polymerization of 11-amino undecanoic acid derived from the extraction of castor oil.

*2 The phase structure of compound resin is formed from numerous raw materials. The name "salami structure" came from the resemblance of a cut section of salami with the "salami structure" consisting of three parts: 1) the "lake" phase in the "island" (dispersion) phase, 2) the "island" phase in the "sea" (continuous) phase and the 3) "sea" phase. The "salami in co-continuous phase structure" has a salami structure in each continuous phase. In addition, at this time there are no reports of salami in co-continuous phase structure, this is the first such report (as of October 2013 per company research).

Source: Toyota Boshoku Corporation