A new thermoplastic charge air duct made by Evonik Industries passes the endurance test in car racing – at only half the weight of previous components
Having moved up eighteen places in the rankings, the Red Motorsport crew had every reason to be pleased with itself and the world. The team had started in 25th place and had moved into the top ten to finish in seventh place. The racing team’s Lotus Exige model was discussed in every pit stop of the Dutch Super Car Challenge in the Dutch town of Zandvoort. The race, held on a sand dune track near the North Sea, featured a revolutionary technical innovation: a charge air duct made of high-performance plastics, custom-made by the team’s main sponsor, the chemical specialists of Evonik Industries.
The new charge air duct of the Lotus racing car is made of VESTAMID® HTplus by Evonik, a heat-resistant, semicrystalline material based on polyphthalamide (PPA). The material has been specifically developed as a substitute for conventional metal applications, such as the previous component installed in the English racing car. Compared to a charge air pipe of metal, the synthetic version, 550 mm long and 70 mm in diameter, weighs only half as much and optimizes the airflow and engine performance, thanks to its extremely smooth interior walls. The plastic charge air duct also has integrated openings for pressure and temperature sensors. Said Olivier Farges, Evonik Director of OEM Marketing for High Performance Polymers: “By using our materials under the tough car racing conditions, we have provided definite proof that our new materials can be used in the immediate vicinity of engines and are resistant to rising temperature demands.” In the charge air duct of charged engines, temperatures can rise up to 170°C, depending on the situation. Farges is also confident that “our material will be more costeffective in serial production than metal applications.” As a benefit to the environment, the significant weight reduction and smooth surface reduce the fuel consumption of vehicles, which also lowers CO2 emissions.
In addition to high chemical resistance, molded parts made from VESTAMID® HTplus offer high dimensional stability and excellent mechanical properties such as rigidity and tensile strength. The molding compounds are ideally suited for substitution in conventional metal applications, for example, as a base material for pump and filter systems or as charge air ducts of charged engines and other hot-air ducts in the vicinity of engines.
In the fiscal year 2007, Evonik Industries posted automotive sales of €1,943,000. This represents a share of 14 percent of the company’s overall sales of €14,430,000. The Group supplies the automotive industry with a broad variety of polymers, additives, and resource components for the development and serial production of plastic parts for the power train, the body, and interior and exterior fittings. Additional applications include components for lithium-ion batteries, tires, coatings, and additives and lubricants.
Evonik Industries is the creative industrial group from Germany which operates in three business areas: Chemicals, Energy and Real Estate. Evonik is a global leader in specialty chemicals, an expert in power generation from hard coal and renewable energies, and one of the largest private residential real estate companies in Germany. Our strengths are creativity, specialization, continuous self-renewal, and reliability. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In its fiscal year 2007 about 43,000 employees generated sales of about €14.4 billion and an operating profit (EBITDA) of more than €2.2 billion.
In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.