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Ultra-light vehicle features acetal gears


An Ultra Light Urban Vehicle project at Bradley University in the Peoria has shown how acetal gears -- specifically gears made of DuPont’s Delrin POM -- offer the strength, toughness and low-friction attributes needed to take the load-generated stress in drivetrain transmission systems while significantly damping noise and reducing the weight associated with metal gears.
The Ultra Light Urban Vehicle project is the brainchild of Martin Morris, professor of mechanical engineering. The challenge to design and manufacture a zero-emissions vehicle began in 2006. It has evolved into a three-wheeled design, licensed as a motorcycle, that carries two people, baggage and weighs 430 pounds.
“Traditionalists would say harsh transmission applications preclude POM,” said Tim Brogla, program developer for Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont Performance Polymers. “Clearly, this project challenges some of those ‘absolutes’. It doesn’t require a leap of faith to see these gears in small engine transmissions, such as riding lawn mowers and golf carts.”

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