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Home > News > Plastics Applications

E-mobility on the move thanks to polymer innovation

Source:Adsale Plastics Network Date :2024-05-29 Editor :By Sofie Chong
Copyright: This article was originally written/edited by Adsale Plastics Network (, republishing and excerpting are not allowed without permission. For any copyright infringement, we will pursue legal liability in accordance with the law.

E-mobility is undergoing a fundamental shift that will reverberate across global markets. This article examines how major players are pushing the envelope of high-performance materials to meet the specific needs for electric vehicle (EV) thermal management and charging infrastructure, and also advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS).


Efficient thermal management


Efficient thermal management in battery electric vehicles (BEVs) plays a significant role in ensuring their driving range, costs, as well as the performance and durability of the batteries. Considering the materials used in BEVs is of the highest importance to guarantee ideal results.


In this context, Solvay has launched SolvaLite 716 FR, an innovative fast-curing epoxy prepreg system primarily targeted at flame-retardant battery enclosure applications and is also suitable for a wide range of structural parts and reinforcements in BEVs.


It has a dry glass transition temperature (Tg) of 145°C (293 °F) and has shown to outperform aluminum and discontinuous fiber composites in practical UL 2596 flammability tests by providing protection at a wall thickness of 2mm.


The system is designed for rapid curing, offering a press cure time of eight minutes at 150°C (302°F); with higher temperature and shorter cycle time capability designed to help converters achieve more efficient production routes, such as Solvay’s proprietary Double Diaphragm Forming (DDF) technology.

SolvaLite 716 FR is available in a carefully selected range of formats and continuous fiber types aimed at meeting the most demanding mechanical requirements, under worst-case loading conditions, minimizing component thicknesses and optimizing enclosure volume for increased volumetric energy density or vehicle z-height.


UL 2596 flame test performed on a SolvaLite 716 FR component.


At Fakuma 2023, Solvay introduced a new Xencor Xtreme long glass fiber (LGF) polyphthalamide (PPA) solution for higher safety and reliability in thermal runaway incidents.


Xencor XTreme PPA LGF grades are produced with partially bio-based content and 100% renewable electricity.


The key benefits of the materials include high stiffness, strength and impact resistance, outstanding electrical insulation with a comparative tracking index of more than 600 volts and high dielectric strength.


They offer high resistance to direct flame exposure at 1000°C for over 10 minutes, providing sufficient time for passengers to exit the vehicle in the event of a thermal runaway and meeting the latest global regulations in Europe, China, the US and other countries.


The materials also retain an outstanding level of electrical insulation after exposure to flame, helping to mitigate thermal runaway in batteries.


Xencor XTreme can be applied to battery components such as overmolded busbars, module end plates and fixtures.


At Fakuma’s fairgrounds, Asahi Kasei presented its new continuous glass fiber reinforced (GFR) thermoplastic, LENCEN.


This composite material is formed by stacking layers of continuous glass fiber textiles with polyamide 66 (PA66) films.


With its tensile strength, high heat resistance and impact properties similar to metal, the material improves collision safety and weight reduction of EV batteries.


When batteries are certified safe, it builds customer confidence, encouraging more to use EVs. A good example is the new Tepex brand composite from Envalior, which passes the standard thermal runaway tests for EV battery housings, even with very low test specimen thicknesses.


The high resistance of this composite to the extreme conditions of a battery cell fire can be attributed to the non-flammable long and continuous fibers that reinforce the material in a multi-layer structure.


With test specimen thicknesses of just two millimeters or even less, the new composite can pass the standard tests covering thermal runaway and thermal propagation events, such as the battery enclosure thermal runaway (BETR) test to UL 2596.


The material easily meets the requirements of the battery stress test involving particle bombardment. The test specimen did not undergo burnthrough, neither when the temperature at the end of the test was as high as 1400°C nor for another 20 seconds after.


The composite also acts as an effective barrier against external fire sources. In the fire pan test, which is based on UN regulation 180, 6.2.4, and simulates highly realistic battery fire scenarios in accident situations, burning fuel did not create holes in the material, and the fibers did not ignite.


In the meantime, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has developed thermal barriers that help to slow down thermal runaway by increasing thermal propagation resistance.


The thermal barriers are now also available in customized, flexible 3D geometries, which makes it possible to use them in various positions within the battery.


Beyond the existing two-dimensional barriers, such as flat mats and thermal blankets, the 3D variant opens entirely new possibilities. Customer-specific, three-dimensional geometries can be produced in a variety of high and low volume manufacturing processes.


Profile seals, module separators and covers, including those for bus bars, cooling lines or electrical components are just a few of the products currently being produced.


Specifically for these applications, materials experts at Freudenberg have developed heat-resistant, electrical, and thermal insulating materials.


The 3D thermal barriers utilize elastomer solutions, either in solid form or as a foam, as well as plastic components such as Quantix Ultra, which enables complex geometries.


These polymers have been proved to safely withstand temperatures of up to 1,200 °C. The special composition also makes them resistant against particle impacts, such as those that occur when cells are vented.


For a high level of efficiency in EVs, adequate cooling, especially of the battery pack, is essential. Polyplastics believes that less heat-resistant plastics like polyoxymethylene (POM) and polypropylene (PP) have significant potential in the production of EV cooling components.


When the temperature of a long-life coolant is 100°C or lower, general-purpose engineering plastics like POM or PP can be used instead of metals or high-performance engineering plastics.


In the case of PP, Polyplastics sees potential for PP-LGF instead of short glass fibers to increase strength, dimensional accuracy, and overall performance. The company also offered DURACON bG-POM made with biomass as an eco-friendly option.


Replacing high heat-resistant plastics such as polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) with POM and PP not only reduces material costs but also helps with efforts to reduce CO2 by reducing the carbon footprint of materials and energy consumption during molding.


Safe and sustainable charging infrastructure


Fueled by EV growth, the demand for charging equipment is increasing globally. This creates a dire need for materials that meet critical performance standards in EV charging applications.


To help address the need, SABIC and Charge Amps has collaborated in manufacturing EV chargers with a housing made from certified renewable polycarbonate (PC). 


SABIC is supplying Charge Amps with its certified renewable grade LEXAN PC, supporting the EV charger provider’s commitment to develop the circular bioeconomy.


LEXAN PC is durable and weather resistant and can provide significant manufacturing cost reductions. It enables charger makers to simplify production processes by using high-speed, high-volume injection molding, and eliminates typical secondary operations that would otherwise be required for metals. 


Charge Amps Dawn is the latest EV charging station with a charging capacity of 22 kW in one socket, a certified MID (Measuring Instrument Directive) meter and 4G connectivity.


Charge Amps Dawn Chassis contains in the range of 50% of ISCC PLUS certified bio-based renewable material from SABIC.


Another example is the robust material solutions platform announced by Avient Corporation. It is now available for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) applications for the North American market.


The portfolio of Avient’s EVSE polymer solutions includes colorants, additives, and specialty engineered materials that can improve the performance and aesthetics of Level 1, 2, and direct current (DC) EV charging stations. 


The manufacturer has offered a broad portfolio of specialty formulations including UL 94 recognized colorants, flame retardants, antimicrobial technology, and special visual effects. 


In addition, sustainable formulations are available for enhancements such as lightweighting or paint replacement and volatile organic compound (VOC) reduction. 


To support EV charging systems, JOINON, the GEWISS offer for smart mobility, expands itself with I-CORD, the cable for EVs designed with a full sustainable approach: socket and plug are partially made of Renycle, RadiciGroup's special technopolymers obtained from the recycling of nylon.


Each single component of the product, as introduced, can be individually disassembled and collected separately, to facilitate recovery and disposal operations along the entire supply chain.


The cable allows recharging different types of EV and is available in both flat and spiral versions.


I-CORD is part of the JOINON ecosystem, the GEWISS offer for charging EVs, which covers both the technological infrastructure of the product and its entire management.


Advanced and integrated ADAS


Autonomous driving is leading to the rising use of ADAS. And this is where novel engineering plastics come into play.


To further strengthen occupant and pedestrian safety, SABIC has expanded its specialty materials portfolio for ADAS.


The company’s two new LNP STAT-KON compounds are well suited for ADAS radar absorbers and can help propel adoption of millimeter wave (mmWave) radar, which significantly improves sensor accuracy and range.


New LNP STAT-KON WDF40RID and WDF40RI compounds address a key challenge of mmWave radar – its increased noise-to-signal ratio. To minimize noise that interferes with the transmission of the main radar signal, these compounds provide a high dissipation factor (Df) for efficient absorption.


Compared to other semi-crystalline glass filled materials, SABIC’s new GFR grades deliver higher absorption and lower reflectivity. In addition, they offer ultra-high flow and very low warpage, empowering customers to create new designs for internal and external single-layer absorbers, or to optimize traditional metal-backed absorbers.


The award-winning LNP STAT-KON WDF40RID compound exhibits high absorption (up to 75% at 77 GHz) and controlled reflection (as low as 25% at 77 GHz), which together can significantly reduce noise.


This innovative product can surpass incumbent materials in higher absorption and lower reflection by as much as 10% on a flat design and can be further optimized with appropriate design shapes.


Webasto unveiled the prototype of a fully integrated sensor roof module for autonomous driving.


Moreover, automotive supplier Webasto has introduced a prototype of a fully integrated sensor roof module for autonomous driving, which used materials from Covestro.


In the production, Covestro’s transparent PC Makrolon AG and the black PC-ABS Bayblend T95 MF were utilized in the sensor roof module.


The product was developed for use in glass-like exterior components and is highly permeable to various sensor signals. At the same time, it meets high mechanical requirements.


The lightweight plastic ensures a low center of gravity for the vehicle and thus better road holding.


High heat resistance of PC ensures that the roof module retains its shape even at high outside temperatures and in strong sunlight and does not impair the function of the sensors. Cleaning and de-icing systems, on the other hand, ensure flawless operation in winter.  

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Electric vehicles
Autonomous driving system
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