Combating Heat and Noise Associated With Fuel Efficient Engines

The road to meeting global fuel efficiency standards has automakers trying to do more with less, like combining direct injection powertrains for high performance and cutting vehicle mass with lightweight materials.

These smaller and increasingly efficient powerplants are becoming more widespread, especially in North America where the 2025 deadline for the Corporate-Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard is nearing. The federal mandate will require cars and trucks reach at least 54.5 miles per gallon.

Since 2009, the EA888 four-cylinder engine has set the standard for small-displacement turbocharged engines, making its way into Volkswagen's North American Jetta, Golf, Passat, Tiguan and Beetle models. Like other smaller and more efficient engines, it also kicks out higher levels of heat and noise.

BASF's Basotect® TG melamine foam is used in the engine cover for various Volkswagen vehicles. This lightweight foam helps to reduce the noise, vibration and harshness that is associated with fuel efficient engines. BASF's Basotect® TG melamine foam is used in the engine cover for various Volkswagen vehicles.

Now in its third-generation, the EA888 Gen 3 was designed to be lighter and more efficient than previous versions. To manage the sound and temperature of this latest offering, the engine covers are being made by Ex-s and Rogers Foam Corp. using BASF's lightweight, sound-absorbing Basotect® TG melamine foam. With superior noise absorption properties, as well as resistance to flames, Basotect is able to withstand the high temperatures of the engine compartment while dampening unwanted noises.

"In order to meet the ever-tightening North American automotive fuel efficiency and emission standards, smaller, higher-performing and direct-injection engines are being used in today's automotive manufacturing," says Holli Woodard, Market Development Specialist for Basotect® in North America. "These engines create higher levels of heat and noise that impact the driving comfort. Car manufacturers and suppliers are increasingly looking for new materials to solve this challenge."

Basotect is the only thermoset melamine foam that can be formed into specific shapes using a mold once it's been heated to a temperature that enables pliability. This allows for the creation of complex 3-D designs for components and customized pieces that are used in tight spaces.

"These engines create higher levels of heat and noise that impact the driving comfort. Car manufacturers and suppliers are increasingly looking for new materials to solve this challenge."

With a density of 9kg/m3, the BASF foam is lighter than conventional insulating materials used in applications under the hood. It can also withstand temperatures of up to 240 degrees Celsius while maintaining its ability to muffle engine noise, vibration and harshness.

The ability to absorb engine noise comes from the open-cell, fine foam structure that can dampen medium and high frequency sounds. A non-woven fleece covering the foam adds to its ability to insulate against a whole range of frequencies.