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Industry award for innovative use of plastics in saving fuel

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 28 June, 2007  (Company News)
Toyota's Crown and Lexus GS-300 boast a fuel-savings component that earned the Most Innovative Use of Plastics award in the Powertrain Category from the Society of Plastics Engineers for Toyota and partners Aisan and DuPont Automotive.
The component, a water jacket spacer made of DuPont Zytel HTN PPA, is assembled into the engine cylinder block and directs long-life coolant flow to transfer heat and equalize cylinder wall temperatures. The net result, according to Toyota, is a 1-percent fuel savings, 6 gallons of gasoline per vehicle per year, which means the component will pay for itself through fuel savings within the first six months of vehicle ownership.

Similar savings through traditional weight-reduction-to-achieve-fuel-economy models would require the vehicle to weigh nearly 55 pounds (25kg) less.

“Technically, the water jacket spacer improves fuel economy around 1 percent,” said Takanori Nakada, manager of Engine Cooling Group for Toyota. “However, from a broader perspective, the development of this unique part contributes toward Toyota's vision to 'Zero-nize', which is our relentless pursuit to eliminate all negative impacts to the environment.”

To achieve this breakthrough application of a plastic that is exposed on both sides to hot coolant, DuPont engineers worked closely with their counterparts at Toyota, molder Uchiyama Manufacturing Corp. of Okayama-City, Okayama (Japan) and Tier One supplier Aisan Industry Co. Ltd. of Obu, Aichi (Japan) from concept through commercialization.

“We are honored to be a part of the team to receive this award,” said Takashi Kubota, assistant manager of Engineering dept. No. 1 for Aisan, which provided design, analysis and quality assurance for this component. “One of the most important factors in this application was the material selection. We reviewed many options, but only DuPont Zytel HTN showed outstanding performance in terms of heat resistance, dimensional accuracy and reliability through excellent balance of properties.”

DuPont Zytel HTN PPA was selected in this application for its ability to withstand harsh chemicals, such as long-life coolant, in engine-block working temperatures. In addition to material, DuPont provided mold flow and deformation analyses to Uchiyama and Aisan before molding trials started and technical assistance through several years of strict, successful testing.

“This application showcases two benefits for engineers in the auto industry,” said Steven Mok, development programs manager, DuPont Automotive. “It illustrates the durability of high performance plastics, such as Zytel HTN PPA, in intense environments and shifts the paradigm about how to use plastics to achieve fuel economy,”

DuPont is a science company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture, nutrition, electronics, communications, safety and protection, home and construction, transportation and apparel.
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