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The Critical Role of Chemistry in the Vehicles of Tomorrow

    April 25, 2018

By Eugene Chung, Henkel

Today, the automotive industry is witnessing history in the making on multiple fronts. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are changing the very idea of the driving experience. In concert with ADAS, electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace — in fact, within just over 20 years, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts they will actually overtake internal combustion engines!

In reflection of these significant changes, our blog will transition from a singular focus on lightweighting to consider the role chemistry plays in advanced vehicle development overall — which is incredibly broad. Among other things, we’ll explore how chemistry contributes to thermal management, improved performance, battery life, efficiency and ultimately, safety.

Market Conditions are Right for Electric Vehicles


The notion of an electric vehicle is nothing new. In fact, the first crude electric vehicle was developed all the way back in 1832. Fast-forward to today and we’re seeing all the right conditions for this market to truly take off for three key reasons:

  1. The cost of a kilowatt-hour is coming down in a significant way. In 2010, we saw a cost of about $1,000 kilowatt-hour. By 2030, that number is expected to be reduced to about $73, which will make electric vehicles much more affordable than ever.
  2. Carbon dioxide emission regulations are continuing to progress, making electric vehicles more important than ever before.
  3. The overall range of an electric vehicle today is about 200 to 250 miles, versus past expectations of about 60 to 70 miles.

Chemistry is Vital to Electric Vehicles

Chemistry plays a key role in these advancements, ensuring battery components function at peak performance. How? In many ways:

  • Sealants ensure external elements that could harm the technology are kept out.
  • Thermal management materials keep heat in check, making sure the battery is operating at an ideal temperature of between 15 and 35 degrees Celsius.
  • Structural adhesives are used in cell-to-cell bonding to ensure the battery pack housing is securely attached and sealed.
  • High-performance solders, adhesives and inks deliver reliable and responsive interconnections.
  • Threadlocking adhesives secure housings and lead frames for rugged conditions.

And that’s just a few.

I invite you to learn more from our previous webinar: Boosting Performance and Efficiency of New Energy Vehicles through Advanced Adhesive Technology. I joined my colleague, Mark Amberg, Business Development Manager, Electric Vehicle Components. Look forward to speaking with you more on this exciting topic.

About the Author, Eugene Chung

Eugene Chung is the North American e-Mobility Business Development Manager for the ACS group with Henkel Corporation. Appointed in April 2018, he brings business development experience from managing Henkel’s adhesive portfolio in the metals industry. Previous to that role, Chung held the position of Application Engineer in the ACS team focusing on EE-NEV adhesive solutions which included leading key technical initiatives such as optical bonding for automotive displays. Having been with Henkel since 2013, he began his career as a formulation chemist at Huntsman Corporation designing adhesives for the electrical and electronics market. Chung received his degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas in 2011 and Executive MBA degree from Michigan State University in 2018.

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