The world’s first thermoplastic composite engine support, replacing an aluminum support is being installed by Daimler for the six-cylinder diesel engine used in the new Mercedes GL Class. The composite part is reported to offer a number of advantages over the aluminum component previously used.
The thermoplastic composite engine support was selected because it outperforms aluminum in the following:
Engine Weight Support. Engine supports are subject to a permanent load – the engine’s weight – and must also absorb the entire engine torque. The part that supports the engine is made from Ultramid A3WG10 CR, a highly reinforced specialty polyamide from BASF and optimized for high mechanical loads.
Light weight. The plastic support weighs more than 30 percent less than the aluminum version.
Acoustics. Thanks to the damping behavior specific to plastic, the new engine support contributes to a more balanced sound.
Lower Heat Conduction. The composite engine support provides better protection from the engine’s heat for the natural rubber engine mounts connected to it, increasing their service life.
The thermoplastic composite support must pass extensive tests, including the repair crash test, which replicates smaller crashes, and the massive offset crash (offset head-on crash). In the first test, the support must remain undamaged; in the second test, it must fail quickly and in a specific manner to prevent the engine entering the passenger compartment.