Car Modification

Mass, value, sturdiness enhancements: EV battery enclosures, Half 2

The corporate experiences SMC utilizing the brand new materials handed the UL 94 5VA take a look at at 2.0 millimeters, when some UP- and VE-based SMC formulations failed at that thickness, and it has fared very effectively in different flame exams. In an prolonged flame take a look at used for inner screenings, panel integrity was maintained even after 10 minutes’ publicity to 800°C. In thermal gravimetric evaluation (TGA) testing, the brand new materials exhibits the best major temperature values, suggesting Arotran 2502 higher resists thermal degradation than conventional UP and VE resins. Even in demanding UL field thermal runaway exams, Arotran 2502-based SMCs have proven superb outcomes. Ongoing work is claimed to be centered on enhancing processing, value, properties and sustainability.

“For EV battery enclosures, an necessary R&D goal is to develop composite resins to be used with tailor-made preforms for a lot larger mechanical properties,” provides Dowdall. “We’re additionally actively working with expertise companions to develop EMI/RFI veils and blankets to satisfy enclosures’ evolving electronics shielding necessities.”

Johns Manville

Denver, Colo., U.S.-based Johns Manville (JM) produces insulation, roofing supplies and engineered merchandise, together with fiberglass rovings for a variety of composite varieties. Final fall, the corporate moved into the semi-finished items section by producing its line of polyamide 6 (PA6)-based Neomera organosheet from anionically polymerized caprolactam. Preliminary merchandise are strengthened with fiberglass woven and non-crimp materials (NCF), however grades with different weaves and even longer chopped fibers — in glass or carbon fiber or each — are mentioned to be in growth and approaching launch.

A advantage of impregnating with caprolactam monomer as a substitute of totally polymerized PA6 polymer is that viscosity is way decrease, so organosheet achieves superior fiber wetout and better fiber quantity fractions (FWFs). This results in composite components with greater stiffness, power and affect resistance. One other benefit of a glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT)/organosheet-type product is that so long as matrices are suitable, plies with completely different fiber varieties and structure may be layered into the compression press earlier than forming, offering important freedom to selectively reinforce areas that require greater mechanicals with steady fiber choices, but additionally present good circulation and fiber penetration to fill complicated geometries with discontinuous fiber choices. Owing to the toughness of the fiberglass/PA6 composite, the fabric is reportedly being evaluated for various automotive functions, together with structural battery enclosures.

“With the speedy improve of EV manufacturing, the mass/value steadiness remains to be a driver, however we’re seeing a shift of deal with two different materials-related fronts: sustainability and potential impact on the automotive meeting course of,” explains Dana Miloaga, JM product chief – composites. “The sustainability facet may be very robust and a number one European OEM is providing particular steering to supplies suppliers on how options are being screened by way of their affect on bold sustainability objectives. Questions we’ve obtained concerning supplies storage and integration into the manufacturing processes, manufacturing facility footprint concerns and the sequence of meeting operations all level to a necessity for composite supplies which can be straightforward to deal with and straightforward to make use of in automated operations, which, in flip, allow high-volume car manufacturing.”

Mass, value, sturdiness enhancements: EV battery enclosures, Half 2

Johns Manville has been working with companions in North America and Europe to develop a totally thermoplastic idea for each battery trays and protecting underbody shields and experiences it has efficiently molded a battery tray demonstrator. Photograph Credit score: Ahead Engineering GmbH

Miloaga says JM has been working with the Royal Oak, Mich., U.S. places of work of Ahead Engineering GmbH (Munich, Germany), a worldwide transportation design and engineering consultancy specializing in light-weight polymer, composites and multi-material options. The corporate — which has specific experience designing battery enclosure programs in addition to offering battery-enclosure-specific prototyping, testing and validation — ran complete mechanical and crash simulations on JM’s all-thermoplastic enclosure design. This, in flip, outlined particular layups for superior materials card growth to be used in crash simulations to assist application-specific buyer tasks. As was reported in Half 1, there may be appreciable want within the auto {industry} for correct materials playing cards on composite supplies, significantly these with discontinuous reinforcement.

“During the last 4 years, we’ve seen a pointy improve in demand for our high-voltage battery enclosure growth assist,” says Adam Halsband, Ahead Engineering North America managing director. “Whereas earlier our work centered on design and simulation of composites-intensive constructions with the objectives of attaining the best crash efficiency and mass financial savings, extra just lately our focus has expanded to the extra complicated challenges of managing thermal runaway efficiency, electromagnetic compatibility [EMC] and battery cell and module environmental safety, equivalent to in opposition to liquid and containment intrusion.”

Wanting forward, he says, Ahead Engineering has seen a big shift in curiosity amongst OEMs about assembly sustainability objectives, life cycle evaluation [LCA] assessments and EOL disposition. “Because the auto {industry} embraces a battery electrical future, pressures to satisfy these necessities in essentially the most succesful and cost-effective method are creating new alternatives for versatile, scalable options, which positions fiber-reinforced polymers to seize a larger share of the car materials combine,” Halsband provides.

 

Lanxess

Specialty chemical compounds firm Lanxess AG (Köln, Germany), which additionally produces thermoplastic composites in a number of codecs — short-fiber thermoplastic pellets, and material or unidirectional (UD) glass or carbon fiber-reinforced consolidated blanks/organosheet — introduced late final yr that it’s collaborating with automotive Tier provider Kautex Textron GmbH & Co. KG (Bonn, Germany) to discover utilizing thermoplastic composites to switch metal and aluminum on large-format EV battery enclosures. Kautex contributed part and course of growth, whereas Lanxess was liable for materials growth. The 2 firms not solely developed however validated — by evaluating predicted efficiency versus measured outcomes from near-series manufacturing bodily components — an all-thermoplastic composite battery housing expertise demonstrator.

The purpose was to point out the advantages of composites for mass and value discount, practical integration and electrical insulation for the 1,400- x 1,400-millimeter battery enclosure for a C-segment (mid-size) sedan. The system consists of a tray linked to an integral crash construction and underbody safety plus a canopy. Elements are compression molded from Durethan B24CHM2.0 fiberglass-reinforced PA6 direct lengthy fiber thermoplastic (D-LFT), a compound particularly tailor-made for compression D-LFT, a one-step course of effectively suited to producing massive components rapidly and value competitively. The tray’s crash construction is regionally strengthened with Tepex dynalite steady fiberglass-reinforced PA6 to satisfy the applying’s very excessive structural necessities. Reportedly the enclosure has handed the exterior hearth take a look at ECE R.100.

All-thermoplastic composite EV battery.

Kautex Textron and Lanxess collaborated to develop and validate an all-thermoplastic composite EV battery enclosure and benchmarked outcomes in opposition to a industrial aluminum half that Kautex produces. As much as 15% mass financial savings, 20% value financial savings and 45% CO2 footprint discount have been achieved whereas offering structural efficiency, integral thermal administration and insert-molded {hardware} to facilitate meeting. Photograph Credit score: Kautex Textron GmbH & Co. KG

“Relying on car class, housings for as we speak’s high-voltage batteries are primarily manufactured from extruded metal or aluminium [sic] profiles and the entire enclosures may be effectively over 1,500 millimeters in width and a couple of,000 millimeters in size,” explains Christopher Hoefs, Lanxess undertaking supervisor e-Powertrain. “The scale, variety of elements and the various manufacturing and meeting steps — together with welding, punching and riveting — make steel housings very value intensive, to not point out very heavy. Moreover, metallic elements have to be protected in opposition to corrosion by cathodic dip coating. With composites, then again, we are able to totally exploit their design freedom by integrating fasteners and thermal-management elements, significantly decreasing the variety of particular person elements for a battery housing. That simplifies meeting and logistical effort and reduces manufacturing value. Composites are additionally corrosion resistant and far lighter, which will increase driving vary per cost. Additionally, they’re electrically insulating, which reduces system threat of brief circuiting.”

Hoefs provides that shifting ahead, Kautex and Lanxess will proceed digital optimization of design and manufacturing particulars to save lots of value and shorten time to market and can use the outcomes of their examine to curiosity OEMs in developmental applications for manufacturing autos. Integration into an precise BEV is deliberate, adopted by real-world testing.

 

LyondellBasell

Calling itself the world’s largest licensor of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) applied sciences, LyondellBasell Industries (Houston, Texas, U.S.) additionally produces fundamental chemical compounds, monomers, a broad vary of thermoplastic and thermoset polymers, plus fuels. Moreover, the corporate’s Engineered Composites division formulates SMC and BMC in UP, VE, epoxy, bismaleimide (BMI) and blends with steady and discontinuous glass or carbon fiber reinforcement for patrons globally. It’s no shock then that LyondellBasell has equipped SMC for industrial EV battery enclosure applications since 2016 in a number of geographies, though the corporate can not determine its clients.

“Battery enclosures have been as soon as only a container,” explains Justin McClure, LyondellBasell advertising and marketing supervisor – engineered composites. “Nevertheless, we’re seeing alternatives the place [battery] enclosures have gotten a part of the car’s construction, and necessities for thermal-event administration have turn into extra stringent, and that’s pushed us to superior supplies choices to satisfy these evolving necessities.”

He notes that the necessity for greater mechanical efficiency has given the corporate alternatives to co-mold its Solid Preg steady uni-, bi- and triaxial carbon fiber-reinforced hybrid SMC with its high-strength Premi-SMC and high-temperature Quantum-ESC SMC grades to optimize mass and efficiency. “We really feel we’re effectively ready for these market shifts given the breadth of our product choices, which allow us to tailor stiffness, power, affect, torsional or bending masses, flame retardance, cycle instances and mass whereas profiting from compression molding’s means to alter supplies with little or no tooling adjustments.”

He provides that extra advantages of compression molding embrace the flexibility to mould very massive components (>113 kilograms), to optimize fiber orientation in crucial areas by altering the kind of reinforcement and cost sample (with out want to maneuver gates, as in injection molding), the flexibility to mould inserts, to fluctuate thickness throughout the half and the choice to make use of a number of cavities with smaller components. Additionally, regardless of SMC’s greater preliminary materials prices, in contrast with multipiece steel stampings, castings and extrusions that have to be machined, coated and assembled, compression tooling for applications of <50,000 models/yr is less expensive, giving SMC a value benefit. For example, versus metal stampings, there’s usually a 35% tooling value financial savings on applications of 30,000 components/yr and a 20% financial savings for applications producing 40,000 components/yr.

Relating to harder thermal runaway efficiency, McClure had this so as to add: “Given the inherent challenges of full-scale testing of EV battery programs throughout thermal runaway eventualities, we’re carefully watching the take a look at commonplace UL is creating that makes use of a scaled-down cell configuration to display screen supplies for battery pack enclosures. We observe new laws and take a look at requirements carefully to optimize our choices. Every utility is completely different and will require a special resin system, additive package deal or coating in a secondary course of.”

Electrical shielding can also be a subject LyondellBasell is watching carefully. “As EVs incorporate extra sensors and wi-fi communications hyperlinks for ADAS security options and semi-autonomous driving, we anticipate there’ll be an elevated want for enclosure supplies with particular electrical properties to assist isolate interference and dissipate electrostatic prices. Now we have options for ESD, EMI and RFI that may be tailor-made to satisfy altering necessities.”

 

Mitsubishi Chemical

Mitsubishi Chemical Group Corp. (MCG, Tokyo, Japan) produces quite a lot of composite applied sciences. These embrace acrylonitrile and polyacrylonitrile (PAN) carbon fiber precursor, carbon fiber itself, carbon fiber intermediates, thermoplastic and thermoset semi-finished merchandise and molded components. On the thermoplastics facet, the corporate affords injection moldable brief glass PP and ultrashort carbon fiber-reinforced engineering resins; compression moldable GMT/organosheet strengthened with both fiberglass or basalt and with PP, PA6 or PA6/6 matrices; and recycled thermoplastics and carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastics produced with a novel dry impregnation expertise. On the thermoset facet, the corporate produces carbon, glass, aramid and hybrid fiber-based UD tapes, woven materials, prepregs and towpregs in quite a lot of resin programs, in addition to carbon fiber-reinforced SMC (CF-SMC) and split-tow CF-SMC with enhanced moldability. Along with recycling thermoplastics, MCG additionally recycles carbon fiber in Europe and Japan, which is subsequently milled, chopped and compounded, or made into nonwovens or veils. The group’s superior composites molder produces thermoset carbon composite elements for the premium automotive, motorsports and aerospace industries. Moreover, an engineering companies group develops supplies playing cards on thermoplastic composite supplies to be used in simulation work on functions like battery enclosures.

Many Mitsubishi supplies are used on composite EV battery enclosures globally, together with its GMT and GMTex supplies, that are used on Japanese and European EVs and have been evaluated as battery safety plates to assist safeguard battery modules and passenger compartments from affect injury.

A and B sides of production compression-molded EV battery cover.

A and B sides of manufacturing EV battery cowl compression molded in GMT and GMTex organosheet composites. Photograph Credit score: Mitsubishi Chemical Superior Supplies

“We’re taking a multipronged strategy to fixing efficiency and processing challenges on this section,” explains John Conn, Mitsubishi Chemical Group Superior Supplies engineering undertaking supervisor. “Not solely will we have a look at materials composition and performance, however we additionally prioritize design for manufacturing by profiting from our vertical integration to resolve manufacturing challenges and guarantee a manufacturable half that meets value and manufacturing targets. For instance, we’re utilizing components to enhance flame efficiency throughout our thermoplastic and thermoset product choices whereas making an attempt to attenuate materials thickness to attain practical light-weight options. And we’re leveraging our information from aerospace to satisfy and exceed evolving EV necessities by all the time striving for materials innovation, which, mixed with optimized engineering and manufacturing design, results in efficient {industry} options.” He provides that it’s incumbent on supplies suppliers to develop cost-effective materials-based options that add worth to OEMs.

Creating supplies that may stand up to thermal runaway situations is one instance of the corporate’s multipronged strategy. “Throughout a thermal runaway occasion, the battery cowl takes heart stage, because it’s key to defending passengers,” says Conn. “The battery enclosure has to take care of excessive structural properties to withstand affect masses and forestall cell injury, which might result in a thermal runaway occasion. Ought to that occur, the quilt have to be in a position to withstand the excessive temperatures — usually exceeding 800°C — plus particles and kinetic vitality from degrading cells. Not solely are we totally characterizing our current supplies, however we’re additionally creating progressive multifunctional supplies to resist thermal runaway occasions, like a brand new flame-retardant thermoplastic composite for battery enclosures that’s handed five-plus minutes’ publicity to a 1,000°C flame.”

He provides that the corporate additionally has developed a customized materials screening take a look at that may replicate the temperatures and vitality seen throughout thermal runaway in a easy setup with out the excessive prices and complexity related to utilizing precise EV batteries. “This enables us to carry out a fast, life like and cost-effective screening of recent supplies earlier than committing to the most important expense of full-scale battery exams.” Conn provides that a number of OEMs are contemplating utilizing the take a look at themselves.

As curiosity in sustainability grows, the corporate says it’s effectively positioned to reply to the elevated demand for greener supplies whereas assembly efficiency necessities at related value factors. “We’re at present exploring the usage of bio-based thermoset resin programs for our glass and carbon fiber-reinforced prepregs, and we have now an skilled thermoplastic recycling enterprise that works with firms to develop the most effective methodology for recycling their plastic manufacturing waste,” explains Conn. “This enterprise saves valuable sources by repeatedly taking again, cleansing, upcycling and reselling quite a lot of fluoropolymers, in addition to PEEK [polyetheretherketone], polyamides and polyolefins. Moreover, our carbon fiber recycling enterprise offers a broad portfolio of customizable recycled carbon fiber-reinforced intermediate and semi-finished merchandise. These efforts are supported by our take-back service for carbon fiber-reinforced manufacturing scrap and end-of-life components, which helps us manufacture carbon composites at an industrial scale with a decrease emissions footprint whereas contributing to a cleaner, extra sustainable future for everybody.”

 

SABIC

SABIC (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) is energetic in petrochemicals, chemical compounds, polymers, fertilizers and metals. The corporate’s Specialties enterprise produces neat, short- and long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT) resins, in addition to alloys and compounds in high-temperature engineering thermoplastics, lots of that are used within the growth of thermoplastic composite tapes strengthened with UD fiberglass or carbon fiber, plus different composites. The group additionally produces thermoset polymers and components. The corporate’s Petrochemicals enterprise focuses on short- and long-fiber PP, polycarbonate, styrenics, thermoplastic polyesters and blends/alloys.

The Specialties enterprise experiences that its Noryl modified polyphenylene ether (MPPE) has been used for battery covers on HEVs for a while. To satisfy the extra demanding necessities of BEVs, the group developed a number of new supplies inside its Noryl and LNP specialty compounds. Noryl GTX MPPE/polyamide is claimed to resist electrophoretic (rustproofing) coating (e-coat), but additionally offers low-temperature affect efficiency to -30°C and is usually utilized in plastic/steel hybrid constructions. Noryl SA low-molecular weight bifunctional oligomers are used as components for epoxy and cyanate ester-based thermosets to cut back dielectric fixed (Dk) and loss elements to allow higher efficiency in greater frequency functions. New LNP compounds, which use 30 base resins and greater than 200 filler combos to attain specialised results, embrace LNP Konduit with non-halogenated body retardance plus low Dk/dissipation issue (Df) for transparency to RF indicators for battery cell retainers and covers; LNP Faradex compounds, which use steel fibers to satisfy EMI shielding necessities; and LNP Stat-Kon compounds formulated for radar absorption.

The 1.6- x 1.4-meter cowl (proven on B facet (high) and A facet (backside)) for a Honda HEV within the Chinese language market is considered one of {industry}’s largest and is claimed to have been the primary polymeric battery enclosure to move the demanding China GB 18384-2020 flame retardancy spec with out dropping affect power. The short-glass PP compound with intumescent FR package deal was additionally optimized to ship excessive mechanical efficiency and manufacturability. The half was a finalist within the 2021 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competitors within the Chassis/{Hardware} class and the 2022 Silver Edison Award winner within the Thermodynamics class. Photograph Credit score: SPE Automotive Div. (high) and SABIC (backside)

SABIC’s Petrochemicals enterprise experiences its supplies are also used for battery enclosures on many HEVs and BEVs. The corporate equipped the extremely flame-retardant short-glass PP resin that debuted late final yr on considered one of {industry}’s largest battery covers for an HEV from Honda Motor Co. (Minato Metropolis (Tokyo), Japan) for the Chinese language market. The non-halogenated PP compound was formulated to kind an intumescent char when uncovered to flames. That charring conduct results in self-extinguishing and was the primary cowl to move the brand new China GB 18384-2020 spec. In comparison with metallic battery enclosures, the place thermal blankets are required, including important weight, value and environmental considerations, the injection molded thermoplastic delivers 40% weight financial savings, contributing to prolonged driving vary. Practical integration simplifies meeting and reduces prices. The half may be totally recycled at EOL and has a smaller CO2 footprint.

“We see the supplies combine altering as the worth chain will increase collaboration on the design of EV battery packs and their particular person elements,” explains Dhanendra Nagwanshi, SABIC senior enterprise supervisor – automotive marketing-polymers. “We see flame-retardant thermoplastics probably turning into a bigger share of the combination as a result of they’ll provide great benefits, together with inherent thermal and electrical isolation, intumescent qualities, lightweighting, components integration and probably components elimination, which helps value discount. Moreover, they’re recyclable, reusable they usually decrease environmental affect — not solely via weight financial savings but additionally by decreasing greenhouse gasoline emissions roughly 10-15% as verified by LCA research. The longer term is brilliant for thermoplastics within the EV battery house.”

One space his crew is engaged on includes battery trays. “Trays are tougher due to their weight, complexity and structural necessities,” Nagwanshi continues. “We’ve performed teardown feasibility research and have seen 60-kilogram weight and 50% value reductions by realizing the advantages of hybrid programs, the place cooling channels are built-in into the tray, which, in flip, is optimized not just for cooling however to slot in the obtainable packaging house. Thermoplastic composites not solely cut back weight considerably and enhance FR and thermal effectivity, however additionally they cut back the danger {of electrical} shorts and high-voltage shocks. Given considerations about the opportunity of sharp objects puncturing the underside of the tray, permitting electrolyte to spill out and probably trigger a hearth, we’ve evaluated completely different ribbing, fiber and FR combos and even checked out hybrid programs with metals to maintain trays protected. Proper now, the entire {industry} is making an attempt to grasp which supplies work for which chemistries and geometries. Everyone seems to be all the pieces and all the pieces is on the desk.”

 

Solvay

With a worldwide manufacturing footprint, Solvay SA (Brussels, Belgium) produces resins and polymers, structural adhesives and surfacing merchandise, thermoset and thermoplastic composites, carbon fiber, composite tooling and ancillary supplies. The corporate has equipped flame-retardant prepreg supplies — in glass/epoxy in addition to carbon/epoxy — for battery enclosures for greater than a decade.

Solvay just lately partnered with automotive design and engineering consultancy Ricardo Plc. (Shoreham-by-Sea, U.Okay.) to finish a digital design and simulation undertaking wherein an EV battery module produced by Ricardo with a steel enclosure and compliant with all world requirements was benchmarked in opposition to a multi-material FR composite cowl and tray. The primary constructions of each could possibly be produced in both epoxy or polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) strengthened with a excessive areal weight fiberglass material and regionally strengthened with UD carbon fiber tapes. Greater than only a demonstration of composites’ lightweighting alternatives, the crew wished to handle the difficulty of volumetric effectivity when packaging massive battery modules in passenger autos.

“Should you have a look at how composites are being portrayed available in the market on this section, your complete focus is on lightweighting, which is necessary, to make sure, however it might’t be the one purpose that composites are used,” explains Mark Wright, Solvay Specialty Polymers, thermoplastic composites, transportation advertising and marketing supervisor. “On this undertaking we got down to uncover not solely the place the ache factors have been for producers but additionally what different advantages composites-intensive battery enclosures can carry to enclosure design and efficiency. We returned to first ideas design and centered on how composites’ design freedom and components consolidation can enhance inner quantity within the X, Y and Z axes inside the battery enclosure to handle the well-known limitations of geometry and thickness that metal-forming has. We additionally thought-about tooling value avoidance and environmental resistance.”

Battery enclosure benchmark.

As designed and benchmarked in opposition to an all-metal battery enclosure system developed by Ricardo Plc., Solvay’s multi-material thermoplastic composite enclosure is focused on the premium/low-to-medium quantity car section. The digital design was evaluated in opposition to key mechanical efficiency necessities, together with modal stiffness evaluation, China crush exams and varied abuse instances, together with jacking. Photograph Credit score: Solvay SA.

Benchmarking outcomes confirmed an 18% discount in enclosure quantity — 45% of which got here from lowered top — versus the metallic design on account of components integration and larger design freedom. That interprets to packaging advantages because it frees up house to suit extra batteries, which improve driving vary, or allows car inside house to be elevated, which improves occupant consolation. Whole mass was lowered 53%, saving 75 kilograms, and half depend was lowered from 22 to 2, significantly simplifying pack meeting and decreasing the entire variety of seals required. Plus, the composite cowl gained’t corrode and affords thermal-management advantages. The crew is now shifting from digital to bodily testing of prototypes for mechanical efficiency, thermal runaway, hearth safety, thermal administration and EMI shielding.

In parallel with the design undertaking, Solvay experiences it additionally has been engaged on an bold supplies characterization examine for EV battery programs that’s described as agnostic between thermoset and thermoplastic chemistries. The corporate is evaluating flame-retardant, excessive glass transition temperature (Tg) thermosets (e.g., epoxy, phenolic, BMI) and thermoplastics (PPS, PEEK, polyetherketoneketone (PEKK)) from its personal portfolio strengthened with fiberglass and/or carbon fiber in quite a lot of fiber architectures to see which combos work finest for particular battery elements on completely different car courses in addition to superior air mobility (AAM) plane. The supplies are being subjected to excessive structural loading, crush testing, facet affect testing, intrusion, modal stiffness, flame retardance, thermal runaway, thermal diffusion and extra.

“The thought is to see how every of those supplies behaves in numerous environments, significantly with regard to 3 necessary areas: hearth safety, thermal runaway safety and EMI shielding,” provides Wright. “We’re short-fiber, long-fiber and continuous-fiber choices and making an attempt to cowl all of the bases with our supplies characterization strategy.” He provides that Solvay is a significant provider of battery cell chemistry in addition to supplies that lie between the cells and the enclosure, so present analysis might effectively have broader implications. “Thermosets are simpler to implement within the brief time period, however thermoplastics assist higher-rate manufacturing,” he provides. “We positively don’t need to be siloed.”

 

Westlake Epoxy

Earlier this yr, Westlake Chemical Corp. (Houston, Texas, U.S.) acquired the epoxy enterprise of Hexion Inc. (Columbus, Ohio, U.S.). Now known as Westlake Epoxy, the corporate is a number one producer of specialty coatings and composites globally for industries starting from wind vitality to automotive. Epoxy and phenolic resin programs are used to kind composite battery covers, trays and different battery-barrier functions on a number of industrial EV platforms bought in North America and Europe, and Westlake may have greater than 5 high-volume applications energetic as of 2023.

“Our Epikote epoxy resins and Epikure curing brokers for LCM and HP-RTM [high-pressure resin transfer molding] and our Epokote/Epikure 06150 and 06170 programs have particularly been tailor-made for high-rate automotive-scale manufacturing volumes and large-format, continuous-fiber composite elements, equivalent to battery covers and trays,” explains Stephen Greydanus, Westlake Epoxy North American automotive enterprise growth supervisor. “We additionally produce industry-leading phenolics — notably our Eponol 06921/Epikure 06931/06941 programs— that present distinctive FR efficiency and are suitable with a variety of reinforcement varieties and processes, equivalent to LCM and compression molded SMC.” He provides that the corporate sees rising curiosity in phenolics as automakers search for supplies that may survive demanding thermal runaway necessities. Westlake can also be contemplating the polymer system to be used as a barrier/containment system inside and surrounding the battery pack.

Westlake fiberglass/epoxy composite being subjected to a flame test.

Westlake fiberglass/epoxy composite being subjected to a flame take a look at at 1,200°C. The take a look at was stopped after eight minutes, 36 seconds, with no burn via. Photograph Credit score: Westlake Epoxy

“Auto {industry} gamers are conversant in FMVSS 302 [U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 302, which tests the flammability of interior materials] and UL 94 V-0 [Underwriters Laboratories 94 V-0 vertical burn test], however most don’t have a toolbox of current metallic or polymeric supplies designed to outlive the intense temperature and different situations of a thermal runaway occasion,” Greydanus continues. “As such, OEMs and Tier gamers at the moment are evaluating new supplies underneath new take a look at situations to ascertain that toolbox of viable supplies. Nevertheless, because the aerospace {industry} has recognized for many years, inside the sphere of polymeric supplies, phenolics are in a league of their very own by way of FST [flame/smoke/toxicity] efficiency.” He provides that the corporate’s new ultra-low formaldehyde Eponol 06921 phenolic resin, coupled with Epikure 06931 and 06941 catalysts, allow high-rate manufacturing of FR composites for a variety of producing processes, together with compression molded SMC and LCM. He additionally provides that the system is getting used to supply industrial EV battery enclosure elements in a high-rate program owing to its thermal safety efficiency. Moreover, the corporate’s Epokote 06710/Epikure 06170 epoxy resin system is getting used for a large-format, structural EV battery tray produced by way of LCM that’s additionally in manufacturing.

“As a resin provider, Westlake Epoxy has formulated its latest-generation phenolic and epoxy programs to be suitable with SMC, LCM, HP-RTM, pultrusion and different manufacturing codecs [processes] to cowl many areas of utility for thermoset composites in multi-material battery-enclosure designs,” Greydanus concludes.

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