Polyamide and rubber mount enhances ride comfort
29 December 2015
ContiTech Vibration Control is claiming a world first for a new, lightweight automotive strut mount whose construction includes a significant proportion of glass fibre reinforced polyamide. The component includes a highly insulating rubber element, which enhances ride comfort.
In what is believed to be a world first, Hanover based Contitech has developed a new strut mount for the automotive industry manufactured from glass fibre reinforced BASF Ultramid polyamide, providing a weight reduction of up to 25 percent over more conventional steel or aluminium components.
Deployed in both front and rear axles of passenger cars, the strut mount was developed in collaboration with General Motors for the latter’s new Cadillac CT6 model. Superior ride comfort is assured thanks to a highly insulating rubber element incorporated into the strut.
“High-performance plastics are the material of the future in the automotive industry,” says Kai Frühauf, head of ContiTech Vibration Control. “Thanks to our many years of experience and extensive materials expertise, we are among the top partners when it comes to innovative new developments with this material. This strut mount designed for passenger car bodies represents another step forward.”
In passenger cars, the spring strut mount is the interface between the spring strut and body. It enables precise and low-friction rotational movement of the spring strut in the front of the vehicle, thereby ensuring optimum tyre/road contact and easier, more positive steering.
As a chassis component, it is subjected to extreme stress. Spray water, road salt, sand, gravel, and vibration can cause the spring strut to wear. If it is no longer fully functional, shock absorbers and other chassis suspension components are more highly stressed. Vibration and noise from the axles becomes more pronounced, resulting in reduced ride comfort.
The new two-section, three-path bearing from ContiTech comprises both glass fibre reinforced polyamide and aluminium components. This novel design easily withstands shock loading as high as 75kN, equivalent to driving a car along a badly potholed road. The strut mount also ensures that only minimal counter-torque acts on the shock absorber, which consequently is subjected to less stress, in turn, enhancing the safety of the vehicle and its occupants.
ContiTech Vibration Control has been developing light weight products, using BASF Ultramid material, for the automotive industry since 2006. Products include heavy-duty engine mounts, with the annual production volume in 2013 exceeding three million parts. In 2009, the company also launched a lightweight transmission cross-member from the lightweight material to support the forces and torque imparted by the engine transmission unit. Its weight is some 50 percent less compared with that of an all-aluminium component.
In 2014, ContiTech releases the first rear axle transmission cross-member made from this high-performance polyamide, while the company has already delivered millions of torque rod supports and torque reaction mounts made from the material.
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