Putting PFPE-Based Formulas To The Test

Online Editor

Adam Reinitz assesses whether premium lubricants can permanently eliminate noise, vibration and harshness issues

That slight rattle. A faint noise. An oh-so-subtle squeak. For today’s car buyers, these noises are irritating, annoying and, more often than not, can compromise the perception of vehicle quality, durability and overall value. In fact, buyers now include noise and vibration among the key factors that affect their choices when evaluating new vehicles.

With the many advancements in technology, auto manufacturers must live up to the high level of performance and comfort drivers have come to expect from their cars, regardless of the class of vehicle they drive. It’s no wonder all of the top cars listed in US News & World Report’s ranking of the quietest cars were luxury models. Engineers have stepped up to the challenge. High-end, tech-forward features such as active noise control methods and computer-controlled smart damping systems work to cancel out noise. And although these solutions can be effective, they’re not always the most cost-efficient or easiest to implement.

Although these efforts have dramatically improved interior quietness, slight noises and rattles still persist. What’s more, combined with quieter electric vehicles, these efforts are magnifying seemingly small sounds because there is less background noise to mask previously undetectable buzz, squeak and rattle (BSR) issues.

Over the years, manufacturers have focused on a variety of ways to address noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and minimise BSR issues. These include: designing aerodynamic bodies to reduce wind resistance; using foam and insulation to reduce cabin rattles and noise; and isolating vehicle suspensions to reduce vibration. Other measures include optimising tyre tread design to reduce road noise as well as redesigning engines to run more quietly.

Reliable Ways To Beat The Squeak

Solving the problems associated with NVH and BSR has been a challenge, and manufacturers are looking for a more reliable solution. In many cases, the missing piece to the noise-cancelling puzzle is a new wave of high-performance lubricants.

Lubricants have been evolving to accommodate automotive advances since the first automobiles debuted. Yet not all lubricants are created equal, and automakers must consider carefully which lubricant is most effective for each application.

A premium class of lubricants – such as Krytox greases and oils – delivers the performance and longevity that today’s cars require. Although silicone and hydrocarbon lubricants could meet past NVH challenges, PFPE lubricants have the qualities needed to meet the rising expectations for interior quietness that automakers face. These include compatibility with metal, plastic, elastomer and leather used in vehicle construction, and lower volatility to resist drying out for the vehicle’s entire lifetime. Manufacturers are also expected to ensure better resistance to washout from water, road salt, steam and detergents that erode other lubricants over time. Lower coefficient of friction in comparison to other options, to reduce wear and prevent noise and vibration during vehicle operation, is another priority for automakers. Whether applying to automotive interiors, exteriors or under the bonnet, Krytox performance lubricants are equipped to address NVH and BSR issues in modern automobile manufacturing and production

What Other Characteristics Fuel Higher Performance?

To deliver maximum performance, Krytox lubricants apply easily, are virtually undetectable and meet critical automaker needs, such as: high lubricity; wide temperature performance (-73°C to 360°C); chemically inert and non-VOC; wide range of viscosities to dampen vibrations; and lifetime lubrication.

Bringing Hatch Vibration To A Halt

One of the leading North American car and light truck OEMs needed to address a rattling found in the doors and rear latches of its full-sized pick-ups. With <1g of Krytox GPL 205 grease, the firm kept production lines moving, and with an optimised grease fill-level, it avoided what could have become a US$150million+ recall.

Resisting Washout

In some cases, redesigning bushings isn’t a viable solution for eliminating unwanted noises. A leading automotive OEM selected Krytox GPL 204 grease for its stabiliser bar bushings because of the lubricant’s compatibility with the natural rubber bushings and its outstanding resistance to washout from road water, de-icing chemicals and car washes.

Putting The Brakes On Noise

A premium European motor manufacturer with a famous sporting pedigree needed to eliminate a persistent and annoying noise found in the parking brake mechanism. Krytox GPL 205 grease served as an easy-to-apply, life-long lubrication solution where multiple components made from different materials come into contact.

Adam Reinitz is with The Chemours Company

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