Magneto rheological (MR) fluid has some pretty amazing properties. It can change from a low-viscosity liquid to a very stiff, nearly solid substance in milliseconds with the mere application of a magnetic field. Now that technology is heading from shock absorbers to engine mounts, and the first car to get the new mounts is the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3
Why go so far into high technology for a relatively simply engine mount? Because controlling the noise and vibration of the powertrain can improve stability and traction, especially during 'transient torque events' - times when coming off or getting back on the power.
"This is the first technology that allows precise real-time management of the relevant frequencies created by an automotive powertrain, including the challenging low frequencies and higher amplitudes caused by transient torque events," says Delphi's MR Mount manager Timothy Schlangen. "Vehicle manufacturers working closely with Delphi have been excited by the wide range of benefits that MR Mounts can bring and by the increasing list of ways they can improve performance, safety and refinement through vehicle-specific tuning."
The new tech supersedes Delphi's previous solution of glycol-filled mounts. Those mounts could only be tuned to control a single main frequency, however, and didn't offer the dynamic capabilities of the MR mounts.
The new mounts are good news for the industry, and for Delphi, but as the car-slump continues, Delphi has been one of the hardest hit, and things aren't looking up. The U.S. government is still in the midst of helping to organize a buyout of Delphi's assets as the company negotiates Chapter 11 bankruptcy - a bankruptcy that's been ongoing for nearly four years.
Things may be turning around for Delphi soon, however, as the U.S. has offered a $250 million emergency financing loan contingent on a sale of assets being completed by July 23.
As for the MR mounts, expect to see them trickle down through the rest of the industry as production and availability makes them more affordable, though high-torque applications like sportscars and luxury sedans are likely to be among the first adopters.
2010 Porsche 911 GT3
Delphi magneto rheological powertrain mounts