Many manufacturers are increasing charging speeds of smartphones, laptops and tablets. When fast charging devices have a charging standard of more than 18 Watts, they are charged much quicker and the cables and connectors used must be able to handle the higher voltage and be compatible with the fast charging standard.
Central to the latest generation of charging solutions are USB Type-C connector specifications. The specification allows the maximum functionality of USB by providing flexible power delivery with data over a single cable.
Plus, fast chargers and cables compliant with USB-C specifications can support charging power levels from 40 to 100 Watts.
The fast charging time is very beneficial and convenient. What consumer would not want their smartphone or mobile device to charge as quick as possible? However, this does come with some possible drawbacks, such as connectors collecting contaminants, like dust and moisture, which can cause them to heat up quickly, destroying the cable and device.
Also, manufacturers are increasingly concerned with the risk of fire posed by charging consumer electronic devices. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, home fires started by electrical failure are primarily the result of arc faults that are often caused by damaged connectors. USB-C connectors are designed to process nearly three times more power than previous USB generations, and require plastic insulating walls as thin as 0.10mm. As a result, they are more vulnerable to electrical tracking that degrades insulating materials over time – leading to arcing, and ultimately, an increased risk of fire.
Connector manufacturers need to select insulating materials specifically developed to minimize the risk of fires that can potentially lead to serious accidents, costly recalls and severe damage to the brand’s reputation. While liquid crystal polymer (LCP) has been widely used to produce micro-USB connectors, it demonstrates low tracking resistance when applied to USB-C connectors due to smaller pitch design and increased power density – making the material unsafe for use in USB-C connectors.
Stanyl® is a high-performance aliphatic polyamide that minimizes the risk of fire hazard more effectively than any competing material. The material offers:
Tracking resistance testing demonstrates that Stanyl significantly outperforms competing LCPs. In one test, we ran electric currents through a Stanyl-based connector and LCP-based one, and exposed both to saltwater droplets. After 60 droplets, the Stanyl connector showed only minor corrosion with no structural damage to the insulating material, while the LCP connector failed completely after 12 droplets.
At DSM, we continuously evolve our material solutions to enable manufacturers to comply with strict design requirements, accommodate faster data processing, and meet stringent product safety testing mandates set by regulatory bodies. We work directly with manufacturers to develop materials designed for next-generation devices – with a focus on how to make them more powerful, highly durable and safer than ever.
Advanced Engineering Manager
04 September 2020
Advanced Engineering Manager
John Hsieh, advanced engineering manager for Envalior, has 20 years of product management and technical marketing experience within the entire electronics value chain. He has been with Envalior since August 2013 and has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
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