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    • Plastic turbos coming soon from BMW? Mann+Hummel demonstrates high grade thermoplastic N54 turbocharger housing

      This is a rather interesting development in the turbocharger market. Mann+Hummel worked with BMW over the past four years to develop a functioning prototype using an N54 turbocharger as the basis for a high grade thermoplastic turbocharger housing. The benefits of high grade plastics in cars are numerous but they are usually applied to body and chassis components and not actually to engine components where strength is at a premium.


      Mann+Hummel claims these plastic housings reduce weight and help with emissions. BimmerBoost is not sure what the emissions benefit to the plastic housing actually is. The main difference is seemingly in the weight loss which then reduces the energy requirements to move the car. It's obvious why BMW would want this technology researched as the plastic material would help save weight and also likely costs as a plastic turbo will be cheaper than a high grade metal unit.

      With BMW going for efficiency above all else we may start seeing plastic turbos at least in the economy models. It is doubtful a plastic housing would hold up to the rigors of a turbo M motor and then questions are raised as to how the material would fare under high heat conditions in a racetrack setting.

      Head of development at Mann+Hummel Dr. Huurdeman had this to say, "The practices we have implemented successfully over the years for many plastic engine components were much harder to implement when replacing aluminium with thermoplastic PPS (polyphenylene sulphide) for turbocharger compressor housings. For example, the dynamic pressure loads at high compressor outlet temperatures entail very particular construction and material requirements."

      If the plastic housing is able to deliver the durability and reliability BMW desires for a certain power level it will be no surprise to see it implemented. Plastic turbos coming soon? Sure looks like it.

      Source

      This article was originally published in forum thread: Plastic turbos coming soon from BMW? Mann+Hummel demonstrates high grade thermoplastic N54 turbocharger housing started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 110 Comments
      1. uniter's Avatar
        uniter -
        Not to mention but the common medium (PLA) is water soluble.

        They do have 3d printers that print metal though...

        Click here to enlarge
      1. V8Bait's Avatar
        V8Bait -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by uniter Click here to enlarge
        Not to mention but the common medium (PLA) is water soluble.

        They do have 3d printers that print metal though...

        Click here to enlarge
        Lol yeah they do they're called CNC machines! I want one!
      1. VNeBLOB42's Avatar
        VNeBLOB42 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by vasillalov Click here to enlarge
        All I have to say is: 3D printing! Think of the possibilities...

        EDIT: You can rapidly design any kind of housing, flange, manifold, connector, provide that the material is up to the task.
        Coupled with 3D Laser Scanning, you can scan any object within parameter and send to 3D printer.
      1. VNeBLOB42's Avatar
        VNeBLOB42 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
        Doubtful that a home 3D printer is going to produce a mold that is going to be structurally sound to be used on a car. Compared to a gun (high force), there are a lot more rough conditions a turbo would have to endure on a car (weather, engine bay heat, turbo boost pressure, etc etc)
        you'll be surprised. Not an expert, but they got some crazy 3D printers out there. And as for home 3D printers, must be a baller to have one just for home. Click here to enlarge.
      1. AltecBX's Avatar
        AltecBX -
        This has nothing to do with weight savings. You have to read through the marketing talk. This is about cutting cost and making them mass produce for their 4 cyl gas and diesels. All future BMW vehicles are going to be turbo charged. Medal will always be use for higher power cars (6 & 8 cyl). They already secured a company to mass produce their carbon fiber to use in their vehicles; looks like now they are looking for a company to mass produce plastic components.
      1. AltecBX's Avatar
        AltecBX -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mat Morkin Click here to enlarge
        The best material in the world at transferring heat is gold, then iron btw...that was an overall conversation point...
        Pure silver and cooper has better thermal conductivity than gold.
      1. rooringhusky's Avatar
        rooringhusky -
        So I opened and read this thread and agreed with the first few posts about how retarded a plastic turbo sounds (no matter how decent it was thermally)....

        But then I was thinking this might be a smart idea afterall....Instead of one or two big turbos getting very very very hot how about stacking 40 plastic super thermal turbos and making some super HP lol!!! Click here to enlarge (assuming somehow maybe the engineering allows less heatsoak)

        Sounds crazy but maybe thats the idea...and like you all said much cheaper too! Click here to enlarge
      1. Sparky68's Avatar
        Sparky68 -
        We use these for various things

        Dont know how long it will be before more car components follow the same route but, my guess is not long.
      1. Sparky68's Avatar
        Sparky68 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Wedge1967 Click here to enlarge
        I take it you know Shiv? You probably wouldn't be so quick to make fun of a ST after taking a ride in one. The N54 engine is an amazing power plant with a big turbo. Along with its monster torque, it just keeps on giving HP all the way to red line. I think we'll all be surprised to see what they bring to the table this next Shift S3ctor. Considering we now know the DMF causes issues at high HP, we have the Alpina trans flash, and we have a built trans going into an AT car this week. Can't wait to see how that comes together.

        1, yes the smilie sort of suggested it had a slight comedy element to it
        2, so how much more money do you have to spend to stop the gearbox going pop?
        3, lighten up Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        We're really defending plastic over metal when the true goal is not performance?
      1. Sparky68's Avatar
        Sparky68 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        We're really defending plastic over metal when the true goal is not performance?
        No way of judging that until we see some performance figures i guess. You never know it may be a good thing.
      1. AltecBX's Avatar
        AltecBX -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        We're really defending plastic over metal when the true goal is not performance?
        It's not about defending plastic over metal. Guys you are looking at it the wrong way. I believe once BMW partners with the right company to produce their less expensive turbos (plastic material or such), they will not be run with exhaust gas. Since we are moving to a world of better emissions, hybrids, electric, etc.., these new turbochargers will be powered by electric. Could be electric stored in battery or these turbos can be driven by an electric motor. This will eliminate the heat built up due to using plastic which has a much lower thermal conductivity than most precious metals.

        Now we all know bigger turbos gives us more power. We all know smaller turbo spools up faster than bigger turbos. We all know that some electric cars have over 2000 lbs of torque. So think about it, why not develop a less expensive material, less weight(again a marketing term but true), less emission and develop these turbos to be run by electric rather than hot exhaust gas to get these turbos to spool up faster than any small turbos, twin scrolls, etc that's run by exhaust gas (heat).
      1. cstavaru's Avatar
        cstavaru -
        Look at the bright side of things: in the future we will be able to cast our own turbos to fit the engine bay space Click here to enlarge Or maybe we can use off-the-shelf, cheap 3D printing machines to print turbos Click here to enlarge
      1. uniter's Avatar
        uniter -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        We're really defending plastic over metal when the true goal is not performance?
        A polymer in this case can be better than metal from both performance and cost savings perspectives.

        The polymer is webbed to increase strength, this is pressure tested.

        The polymer is specially formulated to withstand the temperatures it sees.

        Aside from some sort of voodoo argument that 'metal is better' I don't really see what there is to be afraid of.
      1. Sered's Avatar
        Sered -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by uniter Click here to enlarge
        A polymer in this case can be better than metal from both performance and cost savings perspectives.

        The polymer is webbed to increase strength, this is pressure tested.

        The polymer is specially formulated to withstand the temperatures it sees.

        Aside from some sort of voodoo argument that 'metal is better' I don't really see what there is to be afraid of.
        Unless the polymer is formulated to withstand only stock temperatures. Which makes modding the car harder. I guess it depends on your perspective and what BMW chooses to do with it.
      1. uniter's Avatar
        uniter -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sered Click here to enlarge
        Unless the polymer is formulated to withstand only stock temperatures. Which makes modding the car harder. I guess it depends on your perspective and what BMW chooses to do with it.
        The polymer is formulated to withstand extreme sustained temperatures.
        You dont get to 'dial it in' so that they fail to nuke chip tuners.

        By the way, this 'announcement' is really old. It's from 2009. I'm sure they have new magic $#@! now.

        Here's some technical literature from them, it shows that indeed the plastic compressor housing performed identically to the metal one with the exception that IATs were consistently lower on the plastic side:

        http://www.atzonline.com/index.php;d...loc=3/id=10148


        They're even thinking of making plastic compressor wheels, these would have identical strength characteristics and lower weight, meaning a quicker spool and a cooler charge.

        Yay science.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by uniter Click here to enlarge
        By the way, this 'announcement' is really old. It's from 2009. I'm sure they have new magic $#@! now.
        First I ever heard of it in my defense...
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by uniter Click here to enlarge
        They're even thinking of making plastic compressor wheels, these would have identical strength characteristics and lower weight, meaning a quicker spool and a cooler charge.
        Compressor wheel too? Come on.
      1. WedgePerformance's Avatar
        WedgePerformance -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sparky68 Click here to enlarge
        1, yes the smilie sort of suggested it had a slight comedy element to it
        2, so how much more money do you have to spend to stop the gearbox going pop?
        3, lighten up Click here to enlarge
        Well, it was a simple question with no hidden agenda, you know him or you don't. It's easy to read about someone and pass judgement trying to be popular with the majority and a lot of people do just that. Although Shiv hasn't done a good job of picking his battles which hasn't made him the most popular person throughout the forums, he has pushed the platform to new levels and we all know a little competition is good for development. It's a Win-Win for everyone. And yes, I know Shiv. I've also had the pleasure of meeting Terry.

        With regard to throwing money at your gearbox, we are all in the same boat. It doesn't matter what tune or what turbo upgrade you go with, eventually you're going to run into the Pay-4-Play monster. So I'm not sure if you're insinuating that if you go with a ST that you also need to pay big money to upgrade your transmission in reality if you go with any upgraded turbo with any tune you'll eventually have to pay big money to upgrade your AT transmission or replace your DMF with a SMF on your MT cars. DCT guys are just SOL. Click here to enlarge

        Don't worry, I actually got a laugh out of this also. It would be interesting and comical to see FFTEC using a big plastic turbo to make 700 whp... So my apologies if you thought I was being a prick. It was just a long day... It's also still early today so I haven't had enough coffee to break threw my dry sense of humor... Click here to enlarge
      1. Rob@RBTurbo's Avatar
        Rob@RBTurbo -
        One step closer to big kid Power Wheels.