DuPont has announced a new type of resin that can work as a metal substitute. The new Zytel® nylon resin has replaced steel in exhaust system parts on all Volkswagen vehicles built on the current Golf platform, cutting weight of the component by nearly 50 percent. The resin is used in the catalytic converter bracket to substitute a previous multi-assembled metal and rubber part, so the benefits are not only from the reduced weight but also in the ease of assembly. As stated in the press release (which you can find after the jump), this might be a small step, but it's one small way to achieve higher mileage figures.

Press Release:

DuPont Helps Auto OEMs Achieve Reduced Emissions
Metals Replacement Reduces Weight and Aids Fuel Economy

BAD HOMBURG, Germany, Feb. 26, 2008 - In a breakthrough for structural automotive components, DuPont today announced that its reinforced DuPont™ Zytel® nylon resin has replaced steel in exhaust system parts on all Volkswagen vehicles built on the current Golf platform, cutting weight of the component by nearly 50 percent.

"This is significant because a key priority today for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is weight reduction to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions," said Keith J. Smith, vice president and general manager – DuPont Engineering Polymers. "Future emissions requirements such as Euro 5 and EPA 2010 pose an enormous challenge that automakers are addressing in new designs for chassis, powertrain and engine systems. DuPont is applying its polymer science know-how and broad portfolio of high performance engineering resins for new designs where plastics match the performance of metals to achieve significant weight reduction without sacrificing functionality."

Smith said the focus on weight reduction will be reflected in new powertrain technologies of the future and smaller engine designs that improve fuel economy. The EPA's 2007 Fuel Economy Report indicates that progress is being made. The report confirms that gains in average fuel economy made in 2005 and 2006 are being held in 2007.

The new Golf catalytic converter bracket, which experiences temperatures up to 175 degrees Celsius due to its proximity to the engine, was previously a complex metal/rubber part which required multiple assembly steps. The new component is a global first, as a metal to plastics transition had not been attempted for parts such as these, which must withstand dynamic forces, chemical exposure and high temperatures. In addition to the nearly 50 percent weight reduction, the new all-plastic design with Zytel® also makes possible more efficient, one-step assembly.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

[Source: DuPont]


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