A newly modified formulation of polyarylamide plastic for use as a low-permeation barrier material in a fuel system has been introduced by Solvay Advanced Polymers, LLC. This low permeation plastic can be used in a two layer system that delivers exceptional barrier properties to meet the exacting standards of the EPA's Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) and California Air Resource Board (CARB) automotive and small off road engine emission regulations.
Unlike alternative barrier solutions such as ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymers (EVOH), the exceptional barrier resistant properties of this new polymer does not require four or more additional material layers to be effective in fuel system environment. This can greatly reduce costs associated with investment in additional equipment. The new material is being aimed at manufacturers serving the small tank industry that produces commercial and consumer vehicles such as watercraft, lawnmowers and motorcycles. In addition, this new low permeation polymer is also in trials at several North American and European automotive OEMs for use in other fuel system applications such as filler tube components.
With HDPE's inability to meet tightening regulations, fuel system suppliers are looking for options that will enable them to deliver components with both low permeation and which can be cost effectively produced and managed. For example, the available solutions to meet just the basic Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) I standards require investment in on-site/inline coating treatments. Or, manufacturers can look to offsite post processing coating treatments. To meet LEV II standards, it becomes necessary to look at employing costly multi-layer equipment set-ups.
However, with this low permeation plastic, even the most stringent PZEV regulatory requirements may be reached with a minimum quantity of layers. Two and three layer components deliver equivalent evaporative emissive results to five layer EVOH constructions. The elimination of additional layers is due to new polymer's superior fuel resistant properties, enabling it to be uncompromised when in direct contact with today's fuels. In addition, extensive evaluations of our aromatic polyamide product slate show this new polymer maintaining its mechanical properties in new fuels such as bio diesel and ethanol based fuels.
As small tank manufacturers face compliance with more stringent PZEV and CARB regulations, processors who have yet to invest in capital intensive EVOH constructions now have a barrier solution that requires significantly lower capital outlay. However, those manufacturers who already have EVOH equipment can also benefit with this new polymer's low permeation via optimized processing and capital equipment management.