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News

Zytel HTN has what it takes for new motorcycle engine covers

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 01 August, 2001  (New Product)
Piaggio SpA has found a highly reliable, economical solution for motorcycle engine covers with DuPont Zytel HTN high performance polyamide. Two covers molded from glass-reinforced Zytel HTN serve on several of the company's liquid-cooled, low-emission engines developed to meet stringent European emission and noise requirements.
Piaggio SpA has found a highly reliable, economical solution for motorcycle engine covers with DuPont Zytel HTN high performance polyamide. Two covers molded from glass-reinforced Zytel HTN serve on several of the company's liquid-cooled, low-emission engines developed to meet stringent European emission and noise requirements.

In adopting covers molded from Zytel HTN over aluminum components, Piaggio achieved cost savings of about 25 percent and a weight saving of 40 percent, according to Paolo Nesti, design director of Piaggio's Engine Division in Pontedera, near Pisa, Italy.

The high performance polyamide meets a range of rigorous performance requirements set by Piaggio. 'Zytel HTN displayed the best combination of mechanical characteristics and processing ease of any polymer we tested,' Nesti said.

Piaggio spent a year subjecting the covers to a range of rigorous tests. 'We confirmed that the high temperature performance of this polymer was excellent,' Nesti reported.

In the tests, Zytel HTN resisted constant exposure to gasoline, and to engine oils at 140o.C. It retained its dimensional stability over a range of impact and burst resistance tests. And in contrast to similar polymers that suffered distortion and warpage problems during testing, Zytel HTN did not. 'Our tests also showed that engine covers made of Zytel HTN provide far better sound and vibration dampening,' Nesti added.

Piaggio's exhaustive tests confirmed the recommendation of 35 percent glass-reinforced Zytel HTN by specialists at DuPont's technical center in Cologno Monzese. Nesti says: 'We were comfortable with their recommendation since we have been working with DuPont since 1998 in substituting thermoplastics for various metal and rubber engine components.' During molding trials for the covers, Piaggio and DuPont specialists worked with molder Istamp, located near Turin, Italy.

Zytel HTN is a family of high performance resins based on polyphthalamide and other aromatic-aliphatic polyamide polymers. Zytel HTN resins outperform standard nylons and a number of other engineering plastics in retention of useful strength, stiffness and toughness at high temperatures and in humid environments, dimensional stability, resistance to a wide range of oils and solvents, even at elevated temperatures, and ease of processing. For more information about DuPont Zytel HTN resins, please call DuPont at 800-441-0575. Or visit plastics.dupont.com on the World Wide Web.

The engine covers molded from Zytel HTN are used on Piaggio's Hexagon, Runner and X9 motorcycles equipped with 125 cc or 180 cc engines in four-valve, liquid-cooled configurations.

Piaggio SpA, founded in 1884, created the world's first mass-produced scooter, the Vespa, in 1946 and has been expanding its scooter and motorcycle range ever since. Today its two-wheelers are among the most popular in Europe. For more information: www.piaggio.com; www.vespa.com; or www.gilera.com.

Piaggio's Engine Division is an autonomous division of the company with annual sales of about $300 million (USD) and about 1500 employees. The division produced over half a million engines for Piaggio and other motorcycle manufacturers around the world in 1998.
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