The development of plastic camshaft modules in Europe makes car engines lighter and more environmentally friendly

One of the direct and effective ways to save fuel is to reduce body weight, and the engine is the heaviest in a car part. With this in mind, European researchers have now created a plastic camshaft module that not only significantly reduces the weight of the fuselage, but also has many advantages.

The development of plastic camshaft modules in Europe makes car engines lighter and more environmentally friendly

Photo by Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology, Germany

The prototype was designed by the Fraunhofer Institute of Chemical Technology in Germany, the MAHLE Group, the automotive parts manufacturer, Daimler AG, the Belgian plastics manufacturer SBHPP/Vyncolit and the French plastics company The Georges Pernoud Group.

Instead of the usual die-cast aluminum, the new module is made of fiber-reinforced thermosolid polymers. The finished camshaft module is indeed lighter than comparable aluminum products. This is a particularly important consideration considering its position on top of the engine, as it not only reduces the total weight of the engine, but also reduces the engine’s center of gravity.

In addition, plastic modules are said to absorb noise vibrations better than aluminium products, require less energy for manufacturing, use longer moldlife selling, and require less finishing work after the casting process is completed. What’s more, it can be produced in an integrated way, reducing assembly time.

The development of plastic camshaft modules in Europe makes car engines lighter and more environmentally friendly

Photo by Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology, Germany

It should be noted that fiber-reinforced thermoset polymers are only a quarter as hard as aluminum, although the camshaft module is claimed to be designed to compensate for this deficiency. After 600 hours of bench testing, one of the prototypes reportedly “showed flawless functionality in state-of-the-art internal combustion engines.”

The module claims to be well able to withstand the high temperature of the engine as well as mechanical and chemical pressures. However, the team also plans to conduct more tests to understand how the gas force generated during combustion affects its noise-cancelling properties.