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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.

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      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. shaginwagon13's Avatar
        shaginwagon13 -
        ....As if the stock turbo's for our cars weren't lemons already.
      1. Ferruccio's Avatar
        Ferruccio -
        It's really weird how many people here seem to assume that polymers are automatically worse. Polymers are a vast subset of materials. Much like how gold would make for a terrible metal for turbos, while refractory metals can handle the brunt of the exhaust gases, polymers have their own equivalent. Chemistry continues to improve and I would reserve judgement about the quality of these turbos. The company spent a lot more time researching and developing polymer turbos than most of us. I'm eager to see what they can offer.
      1. Ansch's Avatar
        Ansch -
        meh.. plastic turbo... this has already been done in the 90s already Click here to enlarge

        Attachment 29239
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Ferruccio Click here to enlarge
        It's really weird how many people here seem to assume that polymers are automatically worse. Polymers are a vast subset of materials. Much like how gold would make for a terrible metal for turbos, while refractory metals can handle the brunt of the exhaust gases, polymers have their own equivalent. Chemistry continues to improve and I would reserve judgement about the quality of these turbos. The company spent a lot more time researching and developing polymer turbos than most of us. I'm eager to see what they can offer.
        Talk to me when they are used in high performance applications. Number of big hp tuner cars running plastic turbos? 0.

        That said I'll certainly watch this develop but for now there is no deluding ourselves.
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AltecBX Click here to enlarge
        Since we are moving to a world of better emissions, hybrids, electric, etc.., these new turbochargers will be powered by electric. Could be electric stored in battery or these turbos can be driven by an electric motor.
        I'd like to take this moment to correct Altec & anybody else who says this. By definition what the function & how a turbocharger operates, the electric "turbocharger" is actually a supercharger. Superchargers are mechanically driven (most commonly by a belt system, but an electric motor is also possible) vs. turbochargers which are powered by exhaust gases.


        Thank You.


        Otherwise -- Nothing against plastic turbos in a production car. The minute you add performance you'll just throw it out & put on a higher power, more efficient, quicker-spooling metal turbo.
      1. Ferruccio's Avatar
        Ferruccio -
        Let's reserve judgment for when after actually release it.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Ferruccio Click here to enlarge
        Let's reserve judgment for when after actually release it.
        What fun is that?
      1. onebadmofo's Avatar
        onebadmofo -
        Time to invest in a 3D printer and start printing turbos Click here to enlarge
      1. Sparky68's Avatar
        Sparky68 -
        I do wonder how some people think F1 cars cope with exhaust gasses projecting at the diffuser. These can see 1300 to 1400 degrees and are a composite plastic. I imagine a plastic turbo would cope quite well all things considered.
      1. Ferruccio's Avatar
        Ferruccio -
        Well, ok.

        Down with plastic :@