The Polimotor 2 Composite Engine Case Study

June 22, 2016

The other 3D-printed component, a plenum chamber made with Sinterline Technyl PA (polyamide) 6, will be fabricated with SLS (selective laser sintering). The grade used for this part is reinforced with a 40% glass bead loading for dimensional stability.   (Source: Solvay)

The Polimotor 2 engine has been invented by renowned automotive innovator Matti Holtzberg owner of Composite Castings in Florida where the concept began over 30 years ago. The original Polimotor engine was far beyond its time in regards to composites technology and 3-D printing. It was not completely made of plastics but started a new prospective on automotive engines. The Polimotor was used in an International Motor Sports Association car that raced two seasons. Holtzberg was determined to one day create a completely composite engine and with advancements in composite materials it is now possible. Arevo Labs and Solvay have been working with Matti and the Composite Castings team to design the perfect materials for this Polimotor 2 engine. The challenge to making an engine out of all composite parts is finding a material that can withstand all of the stresses that would break down most materials. Holtzberg and his team created a carbon fiber material that could resist being broken down by chemicals or high temperatures. They were the first to ever print real carbon to be used as a part in the automotive engine. By using carbon fiber they could meet all the requirements for material strength while at the same time weighing about 90 pounds less than other engines of its type. A major breakthrough in controlling the orientation of the materials is what allowed for these parts to be designed to be strong enough in desired areas for the job. The driving force behind this project has been the increasing need for reduced engine weight in the industry that can only be accomplished with composite materials. Holtzberg is a pioneer in this field and his exploration has opened the door to a much more efficient alternative for engines. The Polimotor 2 will not be readily available in the near future for consumer vehicles however. The concept has not been perfected and trying to mass manufacture an object as complex as an engine on a 3-D printer is not yet possible or affordable. Within the next 10 to 15 years though composites will begin to take over the automotive industry as the primary material used for vehicles because of their advantages over heavier metal parts.


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