Issue: Jun 2016

Chemistry innovations breaking design bonds

by John Larkin

Breakthroughs in a range of material technologies are breaking a number of physical design constraints which created boundaries for designers.

A number of these material science breakthroughs were showcased by Dow Corning’s Automotive Business at the SAE World Congress held in Detroit in April. Themed “Smart Science Drives Mobility Innovation™,” the Dow Corning stand featured products such as the award-winning advanced Thermal Radical Cure™ (TRC) silicone adhesives, high temperature fluorosilicone (FSR) rubber technology, as well as three of their new Molykote® brand synthetic greases for more effective automotive noise-damping.

Dow Corning’s EA-7100 Adhesive – an industry-first TRC adhesive – expands design options for automotive electronics by enabling strong device-assembly bonds over a wide range of surfaces than other adhesives. “With a patented new silicone chemistry, this family of adhesives  offers significantly broader design latitudes for next-generation control units, sensors, lighting and display modules,” said Brice Le Gouic, Global Marketing Manager for Dow Corning Transportation Electronics.

Dow Corning also demonstrated Quick-in-Connect™ (QiC) adhesive, a new product that will help save time and improve design and production flexibility. It offers nearly instant green strength from a one-part adhesive, adhesion to many low surface energy plastics and re-workability combined with long open time/pot life.

Dow Corning’s new advanced FSR chemistry “can be applied to our full range of FSR elastomers, offering greater design flexibility for components such as turbocharger hose liners, seals and gaskets, diaphragms, membranes, and flexible valves,” said Craig Gross, Senior Application Engineer for FSR elastomers at Dow Corning. Dow Corning also showcased three new Molykote® brand synthetic greases for more effective automotive noise-damping: Molykote G-1056, G-1057 and G-1067 greases. The greases offer low bleed, improved noise dampening and low temperature performance, and cleaner handling. They can be used for a variety of applications, such as power-door slide rails and actuators, vehicle body and interior components, and sliding rails and glass-fiber-reinforced plastics.

Chad Chichester, Dow Corning Application Engineering and Technical Service Specialist for Molykote specialty lubricants, presented a technical session on “Development of Wide Service Temperature Fluids” as well as a technical paper on “Modeling Molecular Structure to Tribological Performance.”

“While some silicone fluids, such as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), are used only for plastics lubrication, other silicone fluids have molecular structures that enable good lubricity in metal-to-metal applications. These silicone-based lubricating technologies far exceed the PDMS lubricity performance, and test data supports several high-temperature application ideas,” said Chichester.

His technical paper on “Modeling Molecular Structure to Tribological Performance,” which was co-authored with Aleksandra Nevskaya, an Application Engineering and Technical Service Specialist for Lubrication Technologies at Dow Corning Europe described unique film-thickness modeling techniques for developing silicone-based molecular structures to optimize tribological performance in demanding lubrication applications. The molecule structures of traditional and newly developed silicone fluids can be engineered for more precise rheological properties. According to Nevskaya, “a graphical user interface aids data input, and the new modeling system allows the design of new silicone molecules with enhanced lubricity characteristics and superior thermal stability for specific application requirements.”

Automotive Industries (AI) asked Marjorie F. Dwane, Automotive Smart Lubrication Global Market Manager for Dow Corning, how effective the company has been in persuading decision-makers in the automotive value chain to see Dow Corning as a partner.

Dwane: With our heritage, proven track record and global team of reliable experts, global leaders of the automotive industry already trust Dow Corning to deliver technologies that address the mobility challenges of the future. Our customers understand that we are committed to being their first choice specialty chemical supplier, which can only be done by working together to support them to develop vehicles that are more energy efficient, cleaner, safer and more comfortable.

AI: How has Dow Corning’s products such as the Silastic® FSR been developed in conjunction with automotive requirements?

Dwane: As engines are increasingly getting smaller and more powerful under-the-hood applications need to maintain stable performance under even the most extreme temperatures. In response to specifications calling for more heat-resistant performance properties we developed an innovative FSR technology for extreme high-temperature use. This means  that where it was previously limited to applications with long-term exposure up to 200°C, Silastic® fluorosilicone rubber can now be custom-compounded for automotive components that must withstand continuous temperatures of 220°C and peak temperatures of up to 240°C or more. Rigorous heat-aging tests show significant improvements in retention of hardness, tensile strength, elongation, and peel strength required to meet application and material specifications. This is but one example of how we work together with the automotive value chain to deliver solutions for latest market needs.

AI: What makes your Thermal Radical Cure™ silicone chemistry so innovative?

Dwane: Our Thermal Radical Cure (TRC) is another example of developing solutions with the automotive industry’s needs in mind. There are several benefits that TRC can provide customers – from design flexibility and cost control to adhesion versatility and adhesion strength performance for automotive and transportation applications. Perhaps one of the key features that make TRC especially innovative is that it provides robust adhesion to a very broad variety of surfaces. This compatibility with so many diverse substrates enables improved performance and new designs — including those that use alternative plastics to reduce overall manufacturing costs. Also, its cure time of 15 minutes at 100 °C (212 °F) translates into reduced costs for labor, processing time, storage space needed (due to less time waiting for full cure), and delivery/stock time.

AI: How does Dow Corning’s EA-7100 adhesive help designers of electronics systems?

Dwane: It can be used in the assembly of electronics housings from plastic and/or metals and for attaching connectors, electronic control units (ECUs) or sensors onto substrates. In practice, it can be used in a variety of applications across the vehicle, such as: electronic ignition controls and automatic gearbox controllers in the powertrain; in the braking systems on wheel sensors and stability controllers as well as electric parking brake ECUs; and in safety sensors, such as occupant detection sensors and direct tire-pressure monitoring systems, to name but a few

AI: Last year the same adhesive won a R&D Award – what makes the product so innovative?

Dwane: TRC introduces a new system that cures from inside out. In many applications this can have a number of significant advantages in both system design and in production processes.

AI: How does Dow Corning’s Smart Lubrication™ solution help automotive manufacturers and developers offer greater comfort for vehicle occupants?

Dwane: One of the primary ways is by reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). This is both in terms of reducing actual noise and vibration, such as squeaks, rattles and unwanted noise in the vehicle, but also by contributing to a smoother operational feeling for a driver. Additionally, our Molykote® range offers a broad array of proven solutions in the form of greases, anti-friction coatings compounds, pastes, fluids and dispersions to increase performance in most every vehicle system. For example, our Specialty Lubricants™ enhance driver comfort by improving braking performance, enhancing vehicle control in the chassis, as well as reducing engine and driveline friction, which also contributes to fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

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