Continental Structural Plastics’ materials innovations address environmental and safety needs for electric vehicles

Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), a Teijin Group Company, is introducing several new advanced composite formulations that meet the most stringent electric vehicle battery enclosure performance standards for flammability, thermal runaway and VOC emissions while offering the design flexibility of sheet molding compound (SMC)

Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), a Teijin Group Company, is introducing several new advanced composite formulations that meet the most stringent electric vehicle battery enclosure performance standards for flammability, thermal runaway and VOC emissions while offering the design flexibility of sheet molding compound (SMC). These new composites include a low VOC formulation, an ATH filled system, an intumescent system and a phenolic system.

The low VOC formulation addresses the VOC regulations initially developed nearly a decade ago by the European Union and made stricter two years ago. To address these regulatory and customer targets in Europe and Asia, CSP modified its TCA Ultra Lite® material, eliminating benzene as a byproduct. This enabled the material to meet VOC requirements after standard prime and E-coat oven bake cycles. However, outside of the United States most parts will not undergo high temperature paint bakes so further VOC reduction was required. CSP’s newest low VOC material releases significantly fewer VOCs as molded; no benzene, phenol or NMP post-bake, and just 1-2 ppm of styrene post-bake, depending on the bake process used.

Releasing fewer to zero VOCs is just one safety benchmark CSP’s new materials can achieve. When it comes to electric vehicle battery enclosures, composites can be used to reduce weight, improve strength and stiffness, and improve vehicle safety when made from chemistries that are flame retardant and help to contain thermal runway. CSP is introducing three such formulations that can be adapted using different fiber types or formats, such as glass, carbon, blended, chopped and/or continuous.  These proprietary formulas include:

  • A traditional high-fill polyester/vinyl ester ATH system that uses conventional SMC chemistries, is easily adapted to existing tools and will give excellent baseline flammability performance in the right design.
  • An intumescent system utilizing chemistry similar to traditional SMC, but with better flammability and thermal runaway performance, as well as significantly increased mechanical properties over ATH-filled system.
  • A phenolic system, which is ideal for high temperature applications where parts must meet fire safety, smoke emission, combustion and toxicity requirements. CSP’s phenolic system offers excellent flame retardance, heat and chemical resistance, and electrical non-conductivity characteristics.

Any of these systems can be formulated to meet the most stringent VOC requirements.

“The different chemistries our R&D teams have developed provide our customers with a range of advanced composite materials that can be tailored to meet their exact specifications,” said Steve Rooney, CEO of CSP and General Manager of Teijin’s Composites Business Unit.  “And with our global manufacturing and compounding footprint, we are the only company in the world that can compound these materials in North America, Europe and Asia, ensuring our customers consistency and quality regardless of which CSP facility is manufacturing the component.”

SOURCE: Continental Structural Plastics