The high performance materials (HPM) business unit of the specialty chemicals company LANXESS will be showcasing at the VDI Congress ‘Plastics in Automotive Engineering’ in Mannheim under the slogan high-tech thermoplastics for future mobility. “Our focus this year is on new applications in electromobility and cost-effective alternatives to polyamide 66 compounds. We are also focusing on lightweight design with continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites and new solutions such as hollow-profile hybrid technology,” said Dr. Martin Wanders, Head of Global Application Development in HPM, LANXESS.
LANXESS set up the e-Powertrain team in response to the tremendous application potential of its polyamides and polyesters in the market for forms of new mobility. The team helps customers from the international automotive industry to choose tailor-made application-specific materials for electric vehicles. “We also support our partners throughout the entire development chain for their components, for example with engineering services for the component design like moldflow calculations, structure simulations and tests on finished parts,” informed Julian Haspel, who heads the global e-Powertrain team.
LANXESS sees a variety of important applications for its thermoplastics in the field of electromobility, including charging systems, inverters, electric motors, auxiliary systems (e.g cooling pumps) and battery elements. Potential battery applications include cell holders, spacers, covers, module carriers and housing parts. “Our thermoplastics are in many cases an alternative to conventional materials such as die-cast metals, for example in crash-relevant structural components of the battery. But there are also entirely new potential applications, for example with our electrically insulating but thermally conductive compounds,” Haspel added.
LANXESS has recently observed increasing demand – mainly from the automotive industry – for alternatives to polyamide 66 due to the limited primary product capacities for this thermoplastic, which have led to supply bottlenecks and major price increases for compounds. One example of a material innovation where polyamide 66 can in many cases be replaced is the new Durethan P (performance) polyamide 6 series. The products are extremely resistant to pulsating loads, even at the high temperatures inside the engine compartment.
Their mechanical properties are similar to those of polyamide 66. “The substitution can usually be made using compounds with the same glass fibre content, which means that the components are not any heavier,” said Tim Albert, who heads a corresponding international team at HPM. At the VDI Congress, HPM will be showcasing from its product range two new examples featuring 50 per cent and 60 per cent glass-fibre reinforcement. Their high strength and rigidity make them ideal for the lightweight construction of battery components or other parts such as oil filter modules, chassis bearings, damper pistons and seats.
LANXESS is also playing an active role in the congress programme. Dr. Axel Tuchlenski, for example, who heads global product and application development at HPM, is one of the experts appearing in the panel discussion entitled ‘Innovations in the Automotive and Plastics Industry: Is Europe Running out of Time?’. The event will take place on April 3, 2019.