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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. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        $#@! turbos I'll take a .50 cal sniper rifle made out of this $#@! so I can sling it over my shoulder and not even feel it LOL.
      1. Sered's Avatar
        Sered -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Wedge1967 Click here to enlarge
        replace your DMF with a SMF on your MT cars.
        Little birdie told me the Stage3 test car is running a DMF. Just sayin.
      1. uniter's Avatar
        uniter -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LZH Click here to enlarge
        $#@! turbos I'll take a .50 cal sniper rifle made out of this $#@! so I can sling it over my shoulder and not even feel it LOL.
        Exactly, people said the same $#@! when glock started putting out poly guns. There's no reason to hate on advances in technology.
      1. Mat Morkin's Avatar
        Mat Morkin -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AltecBX Click here to enlarge
        Pure silver and cooper has better thermal conductivity than gold.
        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.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Plastic blocks next? Exaggerating as it seems many are accepting some of the potential pluses with the plastic housing:

        Click here to enlarge
      1. WedgePerformance's Avatar
        WedgePerformance -
        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.
        haha, well little birdie will find that once they hit the limitations of the DMF they will get a cyl 6 misfire at high RPM. Again, the limitation isn't turbo or tune related. Just a limitation of a DMF.
      1. Terry@BMS's Avatar
        Terry@BMS -
        Skimmed the thread.

        1) I want to 3D print a turbo. Click here to enlarge
        2) DMF is an issue but disabling misfire detection masks it.
        3) Shiv is running a plastic turbo? lol
      1. Puerto Rican 335d's Avatar
        Puerto Rican 335d -
        I have a funny feeling about this!! The 335d IC is made out of plastic polymer or whatever u want it to call it. it did its job fairly on my car, yes it only wieghed 9 lbs or so compared to the WAGNER IC which 40 lbs but to see the perspectives better the WAGNER IC had better flow and less heat transmitted to the turbos, Im not implying this so called FUTURISTIC turbo mught not be able to handle it but lets be realistic plastic as in any other shape or form albeit polymer, uretahne , carbon fiber or whatever will eventually warp as well as a any metal items but I beleive faster than metal eventually I might be wrong oh well but lets see what happens
      1. uniter's Avatar
        uniter -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Plastic blocks next? Exaggerating as it seems many are accepting some of the potential pluses with the plastic housing:

        http://www.bimmerboost.com/images/im...rd351Wsb-1.jpg
        http://blog.caranddriver.com/is-this...-engine-block/

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_automotive_engine

        http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/au...anted=all&_r=0

        Not as far fetched as you might believe... Click here to enlarge
      1. uniter's Avatar
        uniter -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Puerto Rican 335d Click here to enlarge
        I have a funny feeling about this!! The 335d IC is made out of plastic polymer or whatever u want it to call it. it did its job fairly on my car, yes it only wieghed 9 lbs or so compared to the WAGNER IC which 40 lbs but to see the perspectives better the WAGNER IC had better flow and less heat transmitted to the turbos, Im not implying this so called FUTURISTIC turbo mught not be able to handle it but lets be realistic plastic as in any other shape or form albeit polymer, uretahne , carbon fiber or whatever will eventually warp as well as a any metal items but I beleive faster than metal eventually I might be wrong oh well but lets see what happens
        Many composite / poly materials have higher strength and wear characteristics when compared with metals...
        You're talking about your intercooler?? The end tanks on the stock one are polymers, however the heat exchanger is aluminum just like the wagner, you want (like Morkin mentions) a high heat transmitter for IC applications....
        The additional weight of the wagner is due to the denser construction and partially due to the fact that the end tanks aren't plastic.
      1. Puerto Rican 335d's Avatar
        Puerto Rican 335d -
        uniter i know nothing in the WAGNER IC is plastic but what im trying to say is that ANY plastic will eventually deteriorrte faster than metal when it comes to heat issue, some plastic as you state are stronger than metal I believe that but as far as holding i have my reservations specially on engines components otherwise most of cars outhere would be using it
      1. Sered's Avatar
        Sered -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Wedge1967 Click here to enlarge
        haha, well little birdie will find that once they hit the limitations of the DMF they will get a cyl 6 misfire at high RPM. Again, the limitation isn't turbo or tune related. Just a limitation of a DMF.
        Yeah that same 'limit' that every Shiv MT kit was having yet the Vargas kit didn't. Click here to enlarge Not sure if they had misfire detection turned off or not, but if not it's pretty much a case-in-point demonstration that there may be more to it than just a DMF; and if it is turned its a case-in-point that it's not such a big deal.

        I guess I should explain what I'm thinking better next time and not expect someone to figure out what I'm thinking Click here to enlarge
      1. Sered's Avatar
        Sered -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Puerto Rican 335d Click here to enlarge
        uniter i know nothing in the WAGNER IC is plastic but what im trying to say is that ANY plastic will eventually deteriorrte faster than metal when it comes to heat issue, some plastic as you state are stronger than metal I believe that but as far as holding i have my reservations specially on engines components otherwise most of cars outhere would be using it
        Agreed. I've seen plenty of IC's with plastic endtanks corrode over time. Hopefully its made of a better material.
      1. zeenon53's Avatar
        zeenon53 -
        well...if you can make guns out of plastic, why not turbo's? Someone needs to get one and upload a CAD file for 3D printing!
      1. klipseracer's Avatar
        klipseracer -
        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.
      1. uniter's Avatar
        uniter -
        @klipseracer
        I don't think there's any flywheel effect in play on compressor wheels Click here to enlarge

        *benefit, rather.
      1. leo985i's Avatar
        leo985i -
        only from $#@!ing bmw this kinda $#@! could come. Plastic? really?
      1. cwarren's Avatar
        cwarren -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by zeenon53 Click here to enlarge
        well...if you can make guns out of plastic, why not turbo's? Someone needs to get one and upload a CAD file for 3D printing!
      1. cwarren's Avatar
        cwarren -
        all friction items on poly made guns are still stainless ie barrel /trigger/and tabs on slide .and I predict that 20 years from now we will all have 3d or 4d printers for that matter and what we will be doing when purchacing certain items is just getting a cad file from the web and hit print.and out comes your polymer turbo lol .absolutely going to change everything .
      1. Flinchy's Avatar
        Flinchy -
        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...,
        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