Issue: Feb 2011


Silicone and fluorosilicone engineered elastomers deliver innovative automotive powertrain solutions



by Jon Knox

Dow Corning Corporation, a global leader in silicone and silicon-based technology and innovation, provides a wide range of proven engineered elastomers that deliver cost-effective powertrain solutions for today’s automotive industry.

“Our high-performance Silastic®brand and Dow Corning®brand engineered elastomersare meeting multiple powertrain requirements for durable components with high reliability,” said Ben Son, Dow Corning’s Global Automotive Powertrain Systems major market leader. “With heat-resistant silicone choices and fuel-resistant fluorosilicone options, many component design engineers are specifying the tough elastomers for a variety of underhood applications.”

Son said the company’s selection of silicone and fluorosilicone engineered elastomers offers both design and processing flexibility for powertrain application solutions. The elastomers are being used to fabricate:

Radiator and intercooler seals with improved resistance to advanced coolant blends, organic acid treatments and temperatures up to 200°C (392°F)

Boots for constant-velocity joints that seal in grease and seal out dirt to extend joint life and can help reduce vehicle mass by eliminating heat shields on inboard joints;

Engine seals and gaskets that withstand high temperatures, extreme pressures and harsh fluids used on cylinder heads, rocker covers, air-intake manifolds and oil pans;

Engine mounts in complex proprietary designs for helping reduce noise and vibrations while contributing to mass savings by not requiring costly heat shields;

Muffler hangers and vibration dampers that increase exhaust-system layout options,resist deformation from heat and cold, and resist degradation from road salts and chemicals;

Turbocharger and intercooler hoses using a patented co-extrusion process to reduce costs while increasing hose integrity, strength and reliability; and

Other typical powertrain components requiring high heat resistance, such as radiator and coolant hoses and fuel quick-connect seals.

Special Dow Corning®silicone elastomers also are used as airbag and inflatable curtain fabric coatings and seam sealants. Dow Corning pioneered the use of silicones on inflatable-restraint systems and has a global leadership role in materials innovation and airbag development support services.

A primary reason Silasticand Dow Corning engineered elastomers are a popular choice as powertrain component solutions is that these tough compounds can outperform many organic polymers under harsh operating conditions. They are able to withstand increasingly higher underhood temperatures to +200°C (+392°F) and resist softening, aging and compression set. They can stay flexible in numbing cold to -40°C (-40°F) with less cracking, brittleness or hardening. They also can resist degradation from engine fluids, solvents and environmental contaminants. Many organic elastomers soften and deform at temperatures >100°C (>212°F), and become brittle at temperatures <-25°C (<-13°F).

The silicone and fluorosilicone engineered elastomersfrom Dow Corning are available in both standard blends as well as customized compounds for meeting design and process requirements for higher productivity, lower cost and special performance attributes. Choices include:

High-Consistency Silicone Rubber (HCR) Compounds– Ready-to-use, heat-cured blends of silicone rubber base, fillers, modifiers, vulcanizing agents and pigments;

Fluorosilicone Rubber (FSR) Compounds– High-consistency, ready-to-use, heat-cured blends of fluorosilicone rubber base, fillers, modifiers, vulcanizing agents and pigments;

Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) Elastomers– Two-part dispensable silicone materials that are readily mixed and rapidly heat-cured; and

Fluoro Liquid Silicone Rubber (F-LSR) Elastomers– Fully fluorinated two-part silicone elastomers that combine FSR performance with LSR processing benefits.

“With our high-performance engineered elastomers, we have increasing opportunities to meet today’s powertrain requirements for durable, longer-lasting components on cars and trucks, as well as two- and three-wheelers,” Son said. “Dow Corning is truly one company with many automotive solutions,and we are focused on meeting the industry’s needs for innovative materials, expert application assistance, and total technical service and regional support.”

For more information about Dow Corning automotive solutions, visit dowcorning.com/auto

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