The trends in the automotive industry will be connectivity and electrification, reliability and safety, mobility concepts and the increasing complexity of applications. Future automotive technologies will focus on environmentally-friendly materials (halide free and non-ionic), flame retardancy (FR), EMI shielding, integrated electronics, waterproof electronics, thermal management, metal/plastic bonding and advanced composites.
For electric vehicles consumers want a larger driving range, thus, larger battery capacity is needed. With 800 volts 80% of charging is done in 20 minutes, which is an acceptable amount of time. However, quality and the risk of battery charging becomes a concern.
“For pure combustion engines, fire can basically only be generated if there is a crash or external fire source,” explained Sidiki. “With an EV you change the operation of the car, it gets charged in a garage, and no one is watching—you may be out of the house or sleeping, so the risk that something happens, such as a fire, while the car is charging in the garage suddenly increases.”
Today, FR for the automotive industry is defined by the escape time needed to get out of a vehicle, and since the escape time is minimal—all you need to do is open the car door and get out of the vehicle—there is no legislation requiring flame retardant materials to be used in automobiles. As research is being conducted for even higher voltage systems—China is working on charging systems up to 1,500 volts and in Europe infrastructure for 800 volts is currently being rolled out—there will come a time when legislation to require FR materials in automobiles may be created.
“A car will be treated like an unattended appliance,” explained Sidiki. “This won’t be an easy transition because FR materials cost more and have a lower performance and higher weight, so it will be very counterproductive for designers, but the risk factor is far too great. An increased amount of high-power electronics together with the high voltage electrification and unattended charging will raise the FR bar for automobiles.
Also, at this time, available plastic materials are limited to a maximum of 600 volts CTI and most equipment used to test CTI only goes up to 600 volts. But this did not stop DSM from developing dedicated ForTii and Akulon compounds with extreme CTI values meeting the upcoming needs for higher safety and reliability. These materials have been recently launched and are meeting a high pull from leading automotive tiers and OEMs.
As of today, DSM ForTii and Akulon are the only materials passing CTI >> 600V:
- ForTii TX1 (V0@0.4mm): CTI = 900V
- ForTii T11 (V0@0.2mm): CTI = 825V
- Akulon SG-KGS6/HV = 700V
These higher CTI values deliver an extra level of safety, and in addition, gives product engineers the option to further miniaturize their connector and charging plug design without jeopardizing safety.
To search for ForTii and Akulon materials, visit plasticsfinder.com. For questions or technical inquiries, visit dsm.com/contactdep.