DSM Engineering Plastics

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Developing thermally conductive thermoplastic materials

21 December 2018
  • Krijn DijkstraDirector Advanced Engineering for DSM Engineering Plastics

Electronics represent an increasing share of the value of vehicles. As the industry shifts towards electrical power trains and more automation, that number will continue to increase. This merging of the electronics and automotive industries presents new opportunities, yet also creates new challenges for the materials used.

One of these is the creation of hot spots within electronics and electrical systems. These are caused by applications that use higher electrical power, as well as the trends to integrate different functionality into one component, and to strive for ever-smaller parts.

Thermal conductivity is key to reducing these hot spots, and was one of the main benefits of using metal parts. The high density of metals, however, results in heavy components which will not be effective in electric vehicles, nor is it easy to create complex shapes that integrate multiple functionalities without requiring multiple costly production steps.

The right materials can extend the lifetime of the component, while also maximizing its power output. Developing thermoplastics that are thermally conductive is a logical next step, yet it is by no means a straightforward task. It’s difficult to strike the right balance between thermal conductivity and the material’s other material properties, both basic and advanced, combined with having a cost-effective solution. It’s also essential to predict the effect of higher thermal conductivity on the material’s peak temperatures.

DSM has a broad portfolio of materials that includes grades with different levels of thermal conductivity in combination with other properties essential for different applications. We support all our material grades with full design and testing support. This means we help you via simulations to test the effects of the material on part performance, as well as to work out the optimal geometry for the most effective functioning part.

Learn more about how our portfolio of thermally conductive materials can help you reduce hot spots and extend the effective lifetime of your electrical and electronics parts.

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