Lighter, more compact, more economical
Carmakers and designers are replacing an increasing number of metal components in the engine compartment with plastic. They are developing lighter components that integrate different functions and are more economical overall to produce.
These components include air intake manifold (AIMs) made of the high-performance BASF plastic Ultramid®, which lends excellent stiffness/strength, good chemical and temperature resistance. Compared to an intake system made of aluminum, the Ultramid component weighs about half as much, while enhancing engine performance.
On one hand, the smooth inside walls of these polyamide intake channels feature lower drag properties than aluminum. On the other hand, plastic can be shaped more easily, which allows more favorable air-flow design.
By streamlining the manufacturing process, components made of Ultramid help save production costs. Designers can integrate additional functions into intake modules while retaining the same levels of quality and safety, reducing component complexity. Air filter housings, cable mounts, dirt shields, and installation tabs can now be added to modules made completely of plastic.
Finally, components made of Ultramid are well suited for use in the engine environment. Not only do they possess the required mechanical strength and stiffness, they are also resistant to heat as well as to operating and cleaning agents.
BASF has also developed grades with improved heat stability for AIMs with integrated charge air coolers for turbocharged engines.