Rilsan® HT under the hood
Our Rilsan® HT combines flexibility with the capacity to withstand high temperatures. For the first time, the product will be used instead of metal to manufacture the flexible hoses in car engines. The result will be lighter—and more efficient—vehicles. Learn more about a plant-based material that can help cars be greener!
Rilsan® HT, a plant-based polyamide that combines flexibility and the capacity to withstand high temperatures, was first released by Arkema in 2009. Automobile manufacturers have taken notice of Rilsan® HT. Because it can withstand temperatures of up to 150°C, the product constitutes a viable alternative to the metal hoses usually used in car engines. Peugeot and Volkswagen have already replaced the metal hoses found under the hoods of their cars with equivalent components made from Rilsan® HT. Up until now, this kind of application was unimaginable for a thermoplastic material.
Eco-design for greener products
“Getting new materials approved for the automotive industry is always a challenge.We did it in a year—that’s a record,” said Rilsan® HT Product Manager Michaela Steng. The fast approval should come as no surprise given that the product’s three main benefits—cost, weight, and environmental performance—also happen to be major obsessions for most car makers.
An added benefit is that no special equipment is required; Rilsan® HT can be extruded and thermoformed using standard machines. Furthermore, Rilsan® HT hoses are easy to assemble and fasten—unlike metal hoses. At the end of the day, this can help reduce manufacturing costs.
And, because it is plant-based, Rilsan® HT is environmentally friendly. “Rilsan® HT is made from up to 70% renewable raw materials. It is the perfect fit for eco-designed cars,” said Michaela. Last, but not least, the material is lighter in weight than metal. This is a convincing argument, given that each gram shaved off a vehicle’s weight helps improve fuel efficiency.
When it comes to innovation, customers first
To develop Rilsan® HT, our Cerdato R&D centre combined two classes of materials: long-chain polyamides made from plant-based raw materials derived from castor oil (Rilsan® 11 falls into this category), and so-called “aromatic” polyamides that withstand high temperatures while offering known rigidity.
However, to transform these products into a breakthrough technology with novel applications, our researchers worked closely with our customers. “Customers are the most important part of our innovation process. Arkema works closely with car and automotive component makers—this three-player team is a key success factor for Rilsan® HT,” said Michaela. Arkema is currently expanding this collaborative approach to other industries—such as hoses for pneumatic and hydraulic circuits—where potential applications for Rilsan® HT have been detected.