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Choosing the right material solution for electric vehicle thermal management

15 March 2019
  • Leon HanGlobal Product Manager - Xytron™ PPS

As global growth of fully electric and hybrid vehicle powertrains accelerates, so is the need for increasingly effective vehicle thermal management systems (TMS). An effective TMS is critical since it controls the temperature of key systems to extend service life and reduce energy consumption. Since electric and hybrid systems face different design challenges, it is important to consider the unique needs of each application before specifying a material.

Electric Vehicles

In pure battery-electric vehicle systems, the actual operating temperature is lower over the lifetime of the vehicle. However, the runtime of the TMS is doubled because the system needs to run continuously in colder climates to warm the batteries while the vehicle is stopped.

The increased runtime doubles the amount of time a material must withstand exposure to water-resistant glycol fluids. In a standard vehicle, this exposure time averages 1,000 – 3,000 hours. In fully electric vehicles, the average increases to 6,000 – 10,000 hours.

Hybrid Vehicles

As the name implies, a hybrid vehicle powertrain combines an internal combustion engine system with an electric motor. Since engineers need to accommodate two power systems within a standard-sized vehicle platform, the entire system is confined to a more compact space and heat dissipation becomes a challenge.

To meet this challenge, it is important for automakers to select heat-resistant materials that are tested to high temperatures ranging from 135C to 150C.

Choosing the Right Material Solution

To choose the right material solution for thermal management, it is important to consider heat exposure time, heat exposure temperature, and hydrolysis resistance. DSM offers an extensive portfolio of material solutions designed to overcome these design challenges, including:

  • Xytron PPS (polyphenylene sulphide) – The Xytron family of PPS grades is optimized for hydrolysis resistance, chemical resistance and peak temperature performance. This makes them an increasingly popular choice for hybrid and electric vehicle thermal management systems. Xytron G4080HR is a new grade specifically designed for vehicle thermal management with superior aging resistance and weld line strength retention, compared to alternative 40% GF PPS. 
  • ForTii® Ace PA4T/PPA (polyamide/polyphthalamide) – The ForTii family of advanced polymers is engineered for the most demanding high-temperature metal replacement and electronics applications. ForTii MX53T and ForTii Ace JTX8 are increasingly popular solutions for automakers engineering these respective applications.

Choosing the right material for increasingly advanced vehicle thermal management systems is a challenge, but DSM is here to help. To search materials optimized for automotive thermal management, visit plasticsfinder.com. For questions or technical inquiries, visit dsm.com/contactdep.

White Paper: Meeting the challenges of thermal management in EVs



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