Tenneco Milan materials lab
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Tenneco engineer Joe Cerri conducts testing to generate material property data, which is used in FEA simulations. (Tenneco)

Tenneco tech center expands NVH capabilities with new materials lab

A material analysis lab and a dual material injection press, the latest additions to Tenneco’s Milan Technical Center, are helping technical specialists develop and produce NVH product solutions for vehicles.

“In our work with electric vehicle programs, we’ve seen a need for high-frequency noise isolation around 400 hz. The advanced testing and development capabilities at our ride performance engineering tech center allow us to design customized product solutions for the specific needs of battery electric platforms,” noted Dr. Ben Patel, Tenneco’s Chief Technology Officer.

Patel and other technologists spoke with Automotive Engineering during a recent media tour of the company’s 37,500-ft3 (3,500-m3) tech center in Milan, Ohio.

The facility’s new material analysis lab enables FEA predictions of strain, stress, and fatigue relative to the properties of the elastomers used in Tenneco’s suspension products, according to Joe Cerri, Chief Engineer of Tenneco’s Clevite® Elastomers Business Unit.

“If we’re designing a bushing with a specific compound, we can bring that material compound to this new in-house lab and perform the material test, generate all of the data input decks that are needed by the software package, and then accurately predict the life of that part prior to making the part,” said Cerri.

The material lab not only enables faster product development for new programs, but the testing capabilities also “enhance our expertise in component and system level optimization, while expanding our NVH capabilities, a critical aspect of elastomer design and engineering,” stressed Patel.

Tenneco’s new press provides the capability for injecting two different elastomer compounds into a single part at the same time, according to Cerri. “It allows us to create rubber parts with unique characteristics, so maybe we change the damping in one plane versus the other plane, or maybe we change the stiffness in one plane versus the other plane, or maybe we alter the abrasion resistance,” Cerri said.

The press can be used to produce a variety of parts, such as a spring-eye bushing for light-duty trucks, a tension-link bushing for crossover utility vehicles, or an isolator for EVs. “In an EV application, it may be very advantageous to have a different rate in one direction, or a different limit of travel in one direction to stop the component’s motion and protect the softer, low-damp material that’s in the off-axis direction,” Cerri said.

Added Patel, “This new press also features a custom-designed modular mold system capable of producing prototype parts cost-effectively and efficiently.” Continue reading »
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