Mann + Hummel and Bayer Polymers, a division of Bayer have created the world’s first automotive oil module from plastic.
The component is made from Durethan AKV 35 H2.0, a 35 percent glass fibre-reinforced polyamide 66 that is designed to withstand high temperatures. It is currently used in the Audi A3 2-liter FSI engine.
‘In the wake of this breakthrough, we expect many successor projects ensuring that polyamide finally establishes itself for applications in the engine compartment,’ said Ulrich Grosser, a design expert at Bayer Polymers.
The plastic oil module is said to have many advantages over comparable designs made from diecast aluminium.
Drill holes, threads, openings and flanges on metal oil modules need some degree of mechanical working, whilst injection moulding produces a finished component. Additional functions such as oil cooling, crankcase ventilation, sensors and control or bypass valves are all easily integrated into the design.
Compared to a similar model of cast aluminium, the plastic oil module is 300 grams lighter. This is said to be due to the lower density of the thermoplastic and the fact that complex geometries can be realised more simply by means of injection moulding. The all-plastic moulded part is also suitable for recycling.
According to Bayer, the grade of Durethan used in this application is a custom formulation. It displays a low tendency to warp, ensuring the moulded part remains highly planar with correspondingly tight flanges.
The material can be worked in such a way as to create a glass fibre-free surface so that no glass fibres can find their way into the oil circuit. The material is also highly resistant to alternating stresses (pressure fluctuations).
Microscopic examinations following durability tests are said to have showed no damage in critical areas of the moulding due to hydrolysis or chemical attacks from oil additives or decomposition products.
Work is currently underway to launch series production of other similar oil modules with new concepts for additional car engines in the pipeline.