The Importance of High-Quality Materials for Electric Vehicle Insulators

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BY ALT Technologies | 11th August 2022

The electric vehicle market continues to grow exponentially, with one in ten cars across Europe in 2021 being electric. While this is great news for the environment, many factors still exist to consider around producing electric cars. One is the car battery and how it can be better managed over time.

There are still concerns around EV battery development, from questionable lithium mining practices to the produced carbon emissions from battery manufacturing. For these reasons, it’s imperative that we consider how best to manage batteries in electric vehicles and ensure longevity while still maintaining absolute safety.

A Major Consideration for Electric Vehicles

One way to take charge of improving battery life is through how they are insulated, from the types of materials used to the way they are cut and placed around the battery for maximum fitting and coverage.

Electrical insulation involves non-electrically conductive material used to control the flow of electricity and protect sensitive components. This allows for safer adoption of these new technologies because they have adequate protection from electrical currents, thereby preventing fires and ensuring the electric energy stays on the right path and doesn’t interact with other components, causing short-circuiting.

Insulators also protect EV onboard chargers, DC/DC converters, power electronics controllers, DC charging stations and the battery management system.

A Key Component in Preventing Thermal Runway

When the heat in the battery exceeds the heat dissipated to the surrounding space, thermal runway is said to occur. As the internal battery temperature rises, the battery current also rises, producing even more heat. This can cause other batteries in the vehicle battery pack to overheat and cause a rippling effect in the EV.

Thermal runway may happen when there are battery defects, if there is battery damage causing mechanical failures, or even keeping the vehicle in an environment with a sudden increase in temperatures.

Developing the right insulation, given the environment in which the battery and vehicle will operate, is necessary to prevent thermal runway and ensure the vehicle meets all quality standards.

Maintaining The Right Temperature Requires Efficient Insulating Materials

One material that is proving to tick all the boxes regarding to EV battery protection is polypropylene, a highly-used polypropylene insulator. This polymeric material is ideal due to being highly chemical resistant, inexpensive and almost unaffected by water.

Polypropylene is highly adaptable to different vehicle applications due to the following properties:

  • Flame retardant,
  • Available in rolls and sheets, allowing for fabrication and die-cutting into a wide range of parts,
  • High dielectric breakdown strength,
  • Complies with UL 94, CSA, IEC, RoHS and WEEE,
  • Very low moisture absorption,
  • UV proof,
  • Low material degradation,
  • Very thin and lightweight, so it adds very little mass to battery systems or parts.

Due to the advanced nature of battery management systems in EVs, it will probably replace polyester, polycarbonate, polyimide, aramid fibre, paper, and other materials that may be lower cost but which do not offer such functional solutions.

The aforementioned thermal runway and short circuitry problems can be solved using polymeric material because it can withstand greater than 120 arcs and provide superior static dissipative ESD protection.

Working with foils and die cutting caters to a more cost-competitive ideal than thermoforming. It works for producing detailed, functional parts and solutions such as insulators. Insulation foils can easily be scored and folded into various shapes, making it a highly versatile product that substantially reduces the costs associated with fabricating, warehousing and shipping.

Many polypropylene foil design applications require a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) to attach to the car parts. They can be laminated with other materials, such as aluminium foil, to make EMI shielding laminates.

Work With The Automotive Converting Experts

Developing a strong and effective polypropylene solution starts with those with the proven technologies, expertise and capabilities to bring you the desired product. ALT Technologies has been working with Automotive suppliers for over 20 years and has built up a repertoire of tried and tested die-cutting technologies with a quick turnover. Many foil applications need fine-tuning to cater to each unique module, and we can also deliver solutions on a roll with the desired adhesive strength.

Our insulators range, particularly in electric vehicles and battery management systems, is growing as new automotive specifications come to the fore. With ALT, we can accommodate you with samples and large or small volumes with our extensive range of die-cutting, printing and laminating equipment. Get in touch with our team today to see how we can take your automotive requirements into a steadfast and efficient solution today.






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