Automotive engineering is about to change dramatically catalyzed by alternative electric powertrains, advancing digitization and connectivity as well as the trend towards autonomous driving. These developments create new requirements for engineering thermoplastics asking for a whole range of other properties. Although the exact specifications for plastic components in vehicles and infrastructure are still being discussed, the first production-ready material types are already in the starting blocks.
LANXESS sees new mobility as a major field of application for our polyamide (PA) 6 and PA 66 compounds Durethan®, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) compounds Pocan® and the endless fiber-reinforced composites Tepex®. We already offer a wide range of products that meet the most important standards and norms of the E&E industry worldwide in terms of flame retardance, electrical properties and ecological behavior. Our experience in developing and producing polyamide for the E/E-and automotive industry since decades gives us a head-start when it comes to find solutions to these new and demanding requirements of e-Mobility.
The weight of current batteries is a fundamental disadvantage of electrical driven cars. Batteries often have a weight of around 700kg. One of the reasons for this high weight is the use of aluminum for many applications of high voltage batteries. We at LANXESS believe that we can lower the weight of batteries by substituting metal with high performance engineering plastics. Besides the significant lower weight plastics offer a high degree of functional integration by reducing the processing and assembling costs at the same time.
But: There is a major challenge of a plastic battery housing – fire resistance!
Next to their unrivaled lightweight advantages thermoplastics can be used to produce very compact components due to their great freedom in shaping, favorable processing and high quantities. They are therefore well suited for the small installation spaces in new mobility applications. In electric vehicles, the operating temperature level is significantly lower compared to the internal combustion engine, so that the temperature resistance of thermoplastics is more than sufficient for many applications in the electric powertrain to replace metallic components.
Depending on the application, electromagnetic shielding or reduced electro corrosion of current-conducting components are of increasing importance, especially in battery applications. But also high thermal conductivity for heat dissipation, very good flame retardance, electrical properties and high tracking resistance or dielectric strength at high voltages can be found in the catalogue of requirements.