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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. Flinchy's Avatar
        Flinchy -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Compressor wheel too? Come on.
        Why not?
      1. Flinchy's Avatar
        Flinchy -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sered Click here to enlarge
        Little birdie told me the Stage3 test car is running a DMF. Just sayin.
        Ummm no?

        99% sure the proto car is smfw and stg 2 clutch or somethig?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
      1. JC335xi's Avatar
        JC335xi -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Flinchy Click here to enlarge
        Iron isn't so accurate for sure... But gold transfering heat amazingly? It's used for all kindsa heat wrapping because it reflects heat well lol
        I don't know why there is even an argument to be had on this subject. Thermal conductivity is a material property that can simply be looked up in a reference book and compared... For example, the thermal conductivities of the materials I have seen mentioned are (keep in mind higher numbers mean it is a better conductor of heat)

        Silver: 419 W/m-K
        Copper: 385 W/m-K
        Gold: 301 W/m-K
        Cast Iron: 11.3 - 53.3 W/m-K

        Also, keep in mind these values are at room temperature and this is a temperature dependant property so to see the full picture ideally you would plot it vs temperature OR instead consider the values at whatever your operating temperature would be.
      1. Flinchy's Avatar
        Flinchy -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JC335xi Click here to enlarge
        I don't know why there is even an argument to be had on this subject. Thermal conductivity is a material property that can simply be looked up in a reference book and compared... For example, the thermal conductivities of the materials I have seen mentioned are (keep in mind higher numbers mean it is a better conductor of heat)

        Silver: 419 W/m-K
        Copper: 385 W/m-K
        Gold: 301 W/m-K
        Cast Iron: 11.3 - 53.3 W/m-K

        Also, keep in mind these values are at room temperature and this is a temperature dependant property so to see the full picture ideally you would plot it vs temperature OR instead consider the values at whatever your operating temperature would be.
        That's true

        I probably should have checked wikipedia, in fact there's an article(s) dedicated to specific properties like this

        i should have clarified: gold (foil, all shiny) is an excellent radiant heat reflector, rather than conducting it well... Though silver can do better still, as with most things.. Except for the tarnish resistance
      1. Flinchy's Avatar
        Flinchy -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by klipseracer Click here to enlarge
        My main concern would be maintaining spool. Think lighten a lightened flywheel's momentum. This is of course, if the compressor blades are made of plastic as well. If its just the housing, the only real benefit I can see here would be less reliance on metal materials. I'd think that there may be some other things plastics can do that metals cannot.
        the loss of flywheel effect is made up in response

        you will see far far more benefit from a lighter wheel than a heavier wheel, period
      1. JC335xi's Avatar
        JC335xi -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Flinchy Click here to enlarge
        That's true

        I probably should have checked wikipedia, in fact there's an article(s) dedicated to specific properties like this

        i should have clarified: gold (foil, all shiny) is an excellent radiant heat reflector, rather than conducting it well... Though silver can do better still, as with most things.. Except for the tarnish resistance

        FYI... this is a prety good website for looking up material properties

        http://www.matweb.com/
      1. Mat Morkin's Avatar
        Mat Morkin -
        "Convection is the way heat is transferred from one area to another when there is a "bulk movement of matter." It is the movement of huge amounts of material, taking the heat from one area and placing it in another....When scientists studied good thermal radiators, they discovered that good thermal conductors are also good at conducting electricity. So when you think of a good thermal conductor, think about copper, silver, gold, and platinum."

        http://www.physics4kids.com/files/thermo_transfer.html

        If you complain about my link, it's as good as Wikipedia Click here to enlarge. I was wrong, silver is good at convection as well.
      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...not pointed at you. Injection molding is expensive to start, but depending on the type of plastic it could take a part from $100 to cast (not machine or finish) to $10, so it depends on numbers.

        However, foundries probably pollute more than a injection mold shop because the air set sand contains polyurethane and when it gets wet it seeps into the ground, that's bad news. Lost Wax and Foam are pretty clean though. That is why it is rare that a new foundry opens up, most of them that I know of are so old they are grandfathered in to decades old environmental laws.Click here to enlarge-That's an old foundry, get it?
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AltecBX Click here to enlarge
        Pure silver and cooper has better thermal conductivity than gold.
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mat Morkin Click here to enlarge
        Not to get in a pissing contest, but conductivity of a medium and convection of a medium are different. I was not speaking of their ability as conductors of heat/energy. I was referring to their abilities of convection of heat/energy because heat & energy moves through the medium relatively slow and even, which is good because it is predictable and has a low chance of warping. That is why you see hot sides of turbos made from iron or sometimes stainless steel. Copper, silver & even aluminum are good at conduction. However, they move heat/energy rapidly. Which is why aluminum is great for making intercoolers because it can be heated a cooled relatively fast, & why my grandmas' corn bread cooks so well in a iron skillet.
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mat Morkin Click here to enlarge
        "Convection is the way heat is transferred from one area to another when there is a "bulk movement of matter." It is the movement of huge amounts of material, taking the heat from one area and placing it in another....When scientists studied good thermal radiators, they discovered that good thermal conductors are also good at conducting electricity. So when you think of a good thermal conductor, think about copper, silver, gold, and platinum."

        http://www.physics4kids.com/files/thermo_transfer.html

        If you complain about my link, it's as good as Wikipedia Click here to enlarge. I was wrong, silver is good at convection as well.
        I'm glad you agree
      1. dreamspeed's Avatar
        dreamspeed -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        That's how I feel.
        I thought the world already ended when BMW started putting turbos on everything Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by dreamspeed Click here to enlarge
        I thought the world already ended when BMW started putting turbos on everything Click here to enlarge
        It did.
      1. Sparky68's Avatar
        Sparky68 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Wedge1967 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

        I know you from E90 and would never judge you on any post, as i said, it was a "cheap" shot but, one that at the time i thought was funny!
      1. WedgePerformance's Avatar
        WedgePerformance -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sparky68 Click here to enlarge
        I know you from E90 and would never judge you on any post, as i said, it was a "cheap" shot but, one that at the time i thought was funny!
        No worries Sparky. I was just in a mood. I'm having a mid life crisis and need a big turbo.
      1. partlowr's Avatar
        partlowr -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        You really would rather have a plastic factory turbo than metal? How much will you gain before you melt the stupid thing?
        It is a thermosetting plastic polymer resin not a thermoplastic resin, it can not melt after the initial injection molding process, it would burn before it melted. Depending on what type of fillers they use(talc, ceramic, glass, carbon) it could disapate heat faster than any alloy or even titanium. They have made engine blocks out of it. my concern would be tolerances, plastics, all plastic expand when heated, most things expand when hot however plastics expand mor than most alloys, so although they disapate heat faster, when heat does become a factor it is affects plastics more dramatically than the same part made out of a metal alloy.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by partlowr Click here to enlarge
        It is a thermosetting plastic polymer resin not a thermoplastic resin, it can not melt after the initial injection molding process, it would burn before it melted. Depending on what type of fillers they use(talc, ceramic, glass, carbon) it could disapate heat faster than any alloy or even titanium. They have made engine blocks out of it. my concern would be tolerances, plastics, all plastic expand when heated, most things expand when hot however plastics expand mor than most alloys, so although they disapate heat faster, when heat does become a factor it is affects plastics more dramatically than the same part made out of a metal alloy.
        Burning would be melting wouldn't it?

        You guys are acting like this crap is indestructible.
      1. partlowr's Avatar
        partlowr -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Burning would be melting wouldn't it?

        You guys are acting like this crap is indestructible.
        In order to produce the kind of heat needed to destruct a thermosetting polymer all of the other rubber hoses, plastic coated wire and plastic under the hood would melt first. This stuff cures at 350-400 degrees F.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by partlowr Click here to enlarge
        In order to produce the kind of heat needed to destruct a thermosetting polymer all of the other rubber hoses, plastic coated wire and plastic under the hood would melt first. This stuff cures at 350-400 degrees F.
        Ok convinced I guess but what about the strength?
      1. partlowr's Avatar
        partlowr -
        I have a degree in Plastic Technologies and Polymers Click here to enlarge
      1. partlowr's Avatar
        partlowr -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Ok convinced I guess but what about the strength?
        Without knowing the exact polymer and filler I could not say for sure. Some of this stuff is crazy strong. Some has great torsional strength but terrible impact stregth, meaning it could support a ton of weight or pressure but if you struck it with a hammer you could easily chip or crack it. It would all depend on exact polymer and filler.
      1. partlowr's Avatar