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Material and Design Enhancements are Driving Electric Vehicle Innovation

    January 24, 2017

Humans have been fascinated by electricity for hundreds of years. When Benjamin Franklin proved lightning and electricity were one and the same using a kite, key and a strong hypothesis, this force of nature became a prime candidate for experimentation rather than simple parlor tricks.

More than 100 years later, Thomas Edison perfected the incandescent light bulb and made electricity affordable for all. This ushered in an era of experimentation that led to new ways to use electricity too numerous to mention here. Electricity continues to power innovation today, especially within the automotive industry where manufacturers are grappling with the challenge of making vehicles more fuel efficient.

electric vehicle

Innovation in Electric Vehicles

Advancements in electrification and lithium-ion batteries are driving serious growth in the all-electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) space. For the 2017 model year, at least 13 new EVs and/or HEVs  have already been announced, which shows a great deal of optimism. In fact, an EV was named 2017 North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show. This is due, in part, to battery packs coming down in cost and weight while increasing in range and power. The result is more affordable electric vehicles that are capable of extended performance.

In fact, concern over “range anxiety” is waning. Drivers worried about having sufficient battery charge to manage their daily driving are increasingly satisfied by today’s electric vehicles that boast ranges exceeding 200 miles per charge.

EV and HEV growth is directly related to the advances in lithium-ion batteries, especially the technology of the battery cell itself and for the assembled battery pack. This has all been made possible by material and design advancements.

Conductive Coatings

Advancements in the chemistry of conductive coatings for Li-ion batteries have led to performance improvements that help to extend range and life. One such advancement is Henkel’s BONDERITE S-FN 15000 conductive and protective organic coating for battery and ultra capacitor applications. It enhances electrical conductivity, provides corrosion protection and chemical resistance.

Heat Management

Heat management within these battery assemblies is critical, and Henkel has lightweight solutions that overcomes this challenge.

Thermal interface materials help protect batteries from overheating by by dissipating heat quickly and efficiently. This is key in enabling the extended longevity of the battery cells.

Henkel offers thermally-conductive adhesives used for bonding cells, non-thermally conductive structural adhesives for packs, and thermally conductive fillers, pads and potting materials to fill pack and cavities between the cells.

Sealing

Sealing also plays a very important role in the battery case assembly.

Henkel’s robotically applied liquid gaskets provide options that give manufacturers flexibility. The newest product, LOCTITE® EA 5470 liquid foam gasket enables more efficient and effective battery pack design. It is a soft, low compression set gasket that is UV cured. It’s a rapid-set material and can be applied prior to assembly, which reduces work-in-process.

At both the cell and battery pack level, Henkel’s innovative technologies add reliability and extended life with sealing, cell enhancement and thermal control with minimal weight to keep electric vehicles moving forward.

For more information on adhesives, sealants and functional coatings visit Henkel’s Smart Chemistry Hub.

About the Author, Gino Mariani

Gino Mariani is the Marketing Development Manager for the North American automotive business at Henkel. In his role he is responsible for market development of Henkel’s automotive business in the AEV, Exteriors, Interiors and E/E market segments. Gino joined Henkel in 2008, through the National Starch acquisition, holding various regional and global marketing assignments prior to his current responsibility. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Oakland University.

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