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DuPont Hytrel provides added safety for high-performance motorcycle boot from Puma

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 08 September, 2006  (New Product)
Aesthetic appeal was a further reason behind Puma’s selection: easy-to-process Hytrel is not only simple to colour to customer requirements, but the injection-moulded part provides a scratch-resistant, high-gloss surface without the need for secondary treatment.

The safety-clamp arches over the ankle whilst covering the lower part of the shin. This provides optimal support for the ankle joint in both its medial and lateral movement. Yet thanks to the elasticity of Hytrel, and the unique form of the bearing employed, the foot remains unrestricted in its movement. An integrated catch limits the foot’s rotation to within a ‘safe’ degree. Thus the safety clamp, thanks primarily to the high stiffness of the Hytrel 6356 grade, prevents the ankle joint from turning beyond the medically-defined “angle of no return”. An additional shock-absorber in the heel reduces the effect of vertical blows, thus limiting the levels of compression placed on the ankle/lower-shin area during high-speed crashes.

According to Thomas Fricke, development manager for shoes at Puma: “Such an innovative safety device acts effectively as a so-called Ghost Doctor, only coming into play when required to prevent imminent injury. The all-round protection provided by the device is a result of the ideal combination of properties of Hytrel 6356 for this application. During comprehensive testing, this grade best fulfilled all requirements in terms of elasticity, impact resistance, strength and stiffness, as well as demonstrating flexural fatigue strength in both hot and cold and dry and wet conditions. This means for the motorcycle rider that his boots will respond consistently in all types of conditions, at any time of year.”

According to Thomas Fricke, and as a result of the positive market response to the company’s new safety feature, Puma will apply the same principle to future motorcycle boots within its range. “Two factors are important during material selection, the material properties and the technical advice to exploit theses properties to the benefit of our motor-sport customers. Both elements are provided by DuPont.”

Being a thermoplastic elastomer, Hytrel combines the elastic properties of rubber with the processing-ease of thermoplastics, either by way of injection-moulding or extrusion. It is ideal for parts requiring low flex fatigue and high stress resistance. Tear and tear propagation strength are high, it is creep and abrasion resistant, and Hytrel retains these properties, as well as further mechanical properties, at temperatures between –40°C and +110°C. The high-performance grade used by Puma, Hytrel 6356, is well-known for its particularly high stiffness. Typical applications for Hytrel include sporting goods such as tension straps and other components of shoes and ski-boots.

Puma high-performance motorcycle boots protect the feet of over fifty professional racers from across the world, including Randy de Puniet, Alex Hofmann and Jose Luis Cardoso, three of the 22 competitors in the MotoGP world championship of 2006.

The DuPont Engineering Polymers business manufactures and sells Crastin PBT and Rynite PET thermoplastic polyester resins, Delrin acetal resins, Hytrel thermoplastic polyester elastomers, DuPont ETPV engineering thermoplastic vulcanizates, Minlon mineral-reinforced nylon resins, Thermx PCT polycyclohexylene dimethylterephthalates, Tynex nylon filaments, Vespel parts and shapes, Zenite liquid crystal polymers and Zytel nylon resins and Zytel HTN high-performance polyamides. These products serve global markets in the aerospace, appliance, automotive, consumer, electrical, electronic, healthcare, industrial, sporting goods and many other diversified industries.
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