Thin Is In: How Engineering Thermoplastics Rev Up Electric Vehicles [Pt. 2]

engineering thermoplastics EVs

Electrical and electronics devices have become smaller and more powerful. As a result, engineering thermoplastics (ETPs) are the go-to solutions for thin-wall applications that accommodate compact size, performance, and space requirements.

Applications in electric vehicles (EV) are a prime example of the necessity to transition to thinner-walled parts. Components like connectors, sensors, enclosures, and battery packs are placed into increasingly restricted spaces and asked to produce more power for faster, more efficient charging.

The proximity, heat, and often continuous-use cycles elevate failure risk if the ETPs used do not have characteristics that address the primary threat of fire.

Flame Retardancy is Key

In terms of specifications, automotive OEMs prioritize flame retardancy to maximize safety. As walls get thinner — sometimes to measurements of .4 mm — meeting this basic requirement gets more complicated.

Logically, thicker walls provide better electrical insulation and, ultimately, better protection against flammability. Without that option in many newer EV applications, automotive OEMs must seek plastics that perform.

Teknor Apex understands the dilemmas OEMs face, and our ETP solutions are extensively tested to provide proof and peace of mind surrounding flame retardancy. Our engineers subject ETP formulations to the rigors of industry-recognized standards, including:

  • UL94 flammability
  • High voltage
  • Glow wire ignition
  • Relative thermal index

From Flammability to Functionality

While flame retardancy is the primary characteristic automotive OEMs focus on in terms of plastics, exacting specifications encompass many more needs.

Identifying and formulating to spec requires collaboration between the OEM and materials suppliers. The Teknor Apex team brings decades of engineering experience to the table, and we believe in the power of collaboration through conversations. These exchanges are meaningful, and reveal characteristics necessary to deem a particular ETP a viable solution for an EV application requiring thin walls. Functionality comes into focus as questions arise about certain aspects, including:

  • Ductility
  • Stiffness
  • Flowability
  • Moisture
  • Colorization

Thinner wall thicknesses have transitioned from engineering feat to automotive OEM reality in the EV space. So, too, has reliance on materials suppliers to commit to a true collaborative partnership in engineering ETP solutions that consistently meet with success in safety, performance, and functionality.

Teknor Apex has a proven ETP product portfolio of compounds that address today’s needs with tomorrow’s engineering:

  • Chemlon® polyamides are based on customized PA 66 or PA 6 that contain glass or mineral reinforcements, impact modifiers, and other additives
  • Creamid® polyamides and cross-linkable thermoplastics span chemical formulations to resolve issues related to mechanical and thermal/electrical performance, surface aesthetics, and processing
  • Createc® polyesters are based on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) for excellent mechanical, electrical, and thermal performance, as well as chemical resistance
  • Crealen polypropylene offer reinforced, halogen-free flame retardant grades for enhanced performance versus standard polypropylene compounds
  • Desmoflex® compounds are reinforced, rigid thermoplastic polyurethanes (RTPU) designed for high strength and toughness
  • Recyclon® sustainable solutions deliver grades containing up to 100% recycled resin content that offer a high degree of performance and processing consistency
  • Creablend specialty blends draw from a wide palette of both amorphous and semi-crystalline polymers to deliver custom solutions for unique applications
Teknor Apex is a leader in bringing ETP solutions to the EV space and broader electric and electronics sphere. We’d like the opportunity to talk to you about how we can help you. Contact us today! Click the link below to get started.