Freudenberg has developed a new family of proprietary fluorinated rubber that the company says offers much better sealing capabilities when compared to more expensive perfluorinated material options. The material can function well under very high temperatures and pressures, makes installation easier and is offers cost advantages. The new rubber can also be customized in order to meet specific powertrain engineering requirements.
The automotive industry is undergoing a significant transformation in light of the growing focus on increasing fuel economy and decreasing toxic emissions. Vehicle manufacturers are working on a wide range of innovations to meet these challenges including hydrogen fuel cells, electric drivetrains, nine- and 10-speed transmissions and engines that are smaller and coupled with turbochargers to make them more powerful.
In such a scenario, seals will need to be able to tolerate and function continuously in environments where the temperatures and pressures are higher, the lubricants are new and the installation places are tighter.
The new family of materials has been developed by Freudenberg-NOK, which deals with the business operations for leading seal manufacturer Freudenberg Sealing Technologies in the Americas. The company has been working on the development of the new fluorinated materials for the past four years.
Traditional fluorocarbon rubber can handle temperatures ranging from -40deg to+235deg C, but the new materials can form seals that are still effective at temperatures that can go as high as 270deg C.
Freudenberg-NOK also performed Compression Stress Relaxation (CSR) testing which demonstrated that the fluorinated materials had exceptional sealing capability at high temperatures. Even after prolonged high temperature air exposure, these materials maintained their elasticity and flexibility. The company also conducted laboratory tests which showed that the chemical resistance of the material was uncompromised at higher temperatures and pressures.
Commenting on the new materials, F. Joseph Walker, Global Technology Director, Materials and Laboratory Services for Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies said that the company’s customers are now facing challenges on multiple fronts when it comes to development of innovative vehicle system solutions. This is why Freudenberg is working closely with them through the development of new materials and compounds.
He concluded, “This new family of fluorinated rubber materials, for example, is especially suitable to the high heat, high pressure, static seal environment associated with turbocharging.”
Elastomeric seals play a crucial role in the case of all powertrain technologies. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies is engaged in the development of effective sealing solutions for new technologies like hydrogen fuel cells, and electric vehicle systems as new internal combustion engine designs.
The company had recently unveiled a portfolio of unique smart materials at an industry conference. These materials combine different properties to achieve sensor and actuator functions in seals.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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