Since its conception, the automotive industry has been at the forefront of materials development and is constantly striving to find improvements to components used in automobile manufacturing. Cars are subject to a unique set of vibrational and torque forces that can cause operational difficulties if they are not properly addressed.
To give both drivers and passengers a more enjoyable experience on the roads, automakers have embraced polyurethane in various areas of vehicle construction. One area where polyurethane has been highly successful is in engine mount construction.
Let’s delve deeper into the history of motor mounts, and how polyurethane is used it its construction today!
In the Beginning: Early Motor Mounts
The first cars used fully metallic mounting systems that were usually made of heavy iron or steel. These mounts allowed the intense vibration of the early engine to travel through the other parts of a vehicle and made for a jarring riding experience.
Early car builders first experimented by using leather washers around the mounting bolts to lessen the intense vibrations. As automobiles became more available and widespread thanks to developments in manufacturing, there was a new focus on passenger comfort.
Rubber saw success in some of the most popular early production cars, but by the turn of the century, polyurethane had taken over. Control over material rebound and hardness properties gave car manufacturers purpose-built engine mounts perfectly suited to their motor requirements.
Now that you have a better understanding of the beginnings of motors mounts, let’s see why polyurethane motor mounts are the only choice today.
Polyurethane Motor Mounts in the Automotive Industry
The value of a smooth ride in cars and trucks is essential and was quickly realized by early automakers. Soft urethane mounts did an amazing job of reducing unnecessary vibrations, and customers were quick to point out the superior ride quality of vehicles that used them.
As polyurethane took off, Henry Ford was actually resistant to this new material. Soon, however, even resistant Ford motors could not ignore the obvious benefits of using polyurethane in motor mount construction.
Chrysler’s “Floating Power” mounting system began to use this improved urethane mount. By combining them with a uniquely engineered mounting point arrangement, engine vibrations could be greatly reduced. With new advances in polyurethane, the automotive industry was able to create the smooth, quiet rides we have grown used to in the modern era.
Electric cars have been growing in popularity with the push towards “green living”. Guess what? Polyurethane is used in these applications as well. Successful companies in the electric vehicle market exploit the use of polyurethane in their motor mounts to give drivers the smoothest ride and unparalleled driving experience.
Polyurethane is the Quiet Hero
Engines used in power generation have also seen benefits from using polyurethane. Modern backup electricity generators need to have minimal noise and vibrations to be competitive, and custom-designed engine mounts have helped to accomplish this.
Today’s smaller generators are no louder than a small air compressor, which is a massive improvement. Larger generators for use in hospitals and grocery stores are vastly quieter than generators produced just a decade ago.
As companies quickly realized the benefits of designing a material specific to their needs, they have used this knowledge to give end-users a better performing product. That is great for us!
The Need for Soft Engine Mounts
Auto Racing is another specific industry that has seen positive improvements from the advances in polyurethane mounting technologies. Whereas typical cars require comfort, auto-racers care most about speed. Using a soft engine mount does an excellent job of reducing vibration, but is more susceptible to torquing stress under high load situations.
This stress can result in loss of power, and less torque getting to the rear wheels. To combat this, companies today have developed hard, low rebound mounts that minimize unwanted torque forces. Simply put, this allows the car to deliver maximum power to the road, and win, win, win.
Unique applications require unique materials to get the job done right. Polyurethane has become a valuable asset to automakers because of this. Cars will continue to become quieter and ride smoother thanks to advancements in Polyurethane. Let’s see where the automotive industry will be in say 20 years – I bet polyurethane will still be there.