DuPont Lightweight Material Replaces Metal in New Engine Component

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Component Improves Fuel Efficiency, Named ‘Finalist’ in Most Innovative Use of Plastics Awards

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The collaboration between the members of this team really made the difference.

The new Ford 3.5L and 3.7L engine manifold uses a cross-over coolant component made of DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA resin instead of brazed metal, shaving one pound to improve fuel economy. Behind the scenes, the running change illustrates the trend toward using high performance thermoplastic where it is essential. And it shows how collaboration in the value chain continues to drive cost and weight saving by developing and investing in innovative techniques to help the industry meet new fuel and emissions regulations.

The team from Illinois Tool Works, Inc. (ITW) in Ohio arrived at DuPont’s Innovation Center in Troy to brainstorm how to integrate a crossover coolant component into a V6 engine manifold that is made of traditional nylon polymer. The crossover coolant component is a hollow port that allows engine coolant to bypass the manifold as it circulates through the engine. Traditional nylon 6 polymer doesn’t withstand long-term exposure to heat and long-life coolant, so the ITW team was receiving the component made of brazed metal, which was heavy and expensive.

While DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA is frequently used in engine cooling components because it can withstand the long term exposure to heat and long life coolant, the intense pressure of the overmolding process needed to integrate the component into the manifold system was damaging the hollow component.

The cross-functional team approached the challenge from several perspectives related to design, material and processing. Over the following weeks the team modified the material and the design using advanced computer models to inform the prototype. ITW invested in cavity-pressure sensing technology from RJG, Inc. to understand pressures inside the molding cavity. The data was used to pinpoint where design changes could add structure and to control the process so the prototype could scale into production quickly.

“Getting accurate data about pressures and conditions inside the molding cavity significantly improved our ability to evaluate the material, iterate more efficiently on design and shorten the development cycle,” said Tyler Terrell, ITW project manager. “This was a really tough challenge and we used every technology we could to get this part into production. The collaboration between the members of this team really made the difference.”

“There’s a growing trend toward using high-performance materials only where they are needed,” said Pat Granowicz, powertrain segment leader, DuPont Automotive Performance Polymers. “This can lead to challenging designs and demand innovative processing solutions. Modelling based on how a material behaves in processing and in use is critical.”

The new integrated coolant crossover debuts on Ford’s 3.5L and 3.7L V6 engine that powers the Ford Taurus, Flex, Edge and Explorer.

In addition to significant weight savings, the running change eliminated several steps in the value chain associated with processing and machining powder-coated metal. For the advances, Ford and the team from ITW and DuPont were named finalists in the Society of Plastics Engineers Most Innovative Use of Plastics Award in the Process/Assemby/Enabling Technology category.

It was one of two 2013 finalists. The other – an acoustic shield mounted on the 2013 Hyundai Elantra and Forte cylinder block – was developed by a team from Hyundai Motor Company, NVH Korea Co., Ltd. and DuPont. The application relies on heat and flame resistant DuPont™ Nomex® brand fiber to withstand the demanding engine environment.

DuPont offers more than 100 materials and product families for the global automotive industry. Through its global application development network, DuPont Automotive is committed to collaborating with customers throughout the value chain to develop new products, materials, components and systems that help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and protect people and the environment.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit



The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont™, The miracles of science™, Zytel® and Nomex® are trademarks or registered trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

Moldform Animation
Moldflow was used to help optimize the process of over- molding a hollow engine manifold insert of DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA resin so that it could withstand the pressures of the high pressure injection molding process.

Finite Element Analysis Animation
In this Ford engine manifold cross-over coolant component made of DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA resin, finite element analysis was used to help optimize the cross-over part design so the hollow component could withstand the high pressure injection process.

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Carole Davies
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