Advancing electronic vehicles with acrylic structural adhesives

By Eric Wyman, Sr. Scientist, LORD Corporation

Although electric vehicles have been a possibility for almost a century, they haven’t been terribly realistic up until this point because of myriad factors including cost, design and perception. However, with pressure to reduce vehicle carbon emissions and improve air quality, Congress recently commissioned a study by the National Academy of Sciences on hurdles to adopting plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), as highlighted in Why Don’t We Drive More Electric Vehicles

Replacement photo_July 2016_Bonding Battery Cells to Aluminum Cooling Plate - Original Filesize Tra...Building on our expertise with thermally-conductive materials as well as structural adhesives, LORD has sought a means to help advance this industry and find a better solution. Applying the same expertise and experimenting with the chemistries used for materials used in the aerospace, industrial, oil and gas as well as a wide range of other industries, LORD set out to find a material that serves as both a mechanical bonding solution as well as thermal interface.According to the report, the array of options can be bewildering, ranging from long-range battery options such as the Tesla Model S, short-range models like Nissan Leaf, the range-extended plug-in hybrid model Chevrolet Volt (which drives on electric power most of the time), and minimal plug-in models such as the BMW i8 (which can perform short trips on battery power alone). Despite the growing list of options, one common theme is the need to find an efficient means to reduce the cost and improve the design of the battery pack.

The intent was to create a material that would eliminate or reduce the current trend of large mechanical structures, while serving as a cooling medium. By simplifying the design, we can help increase the energy density of the battery pack, which also allows for novel pack design. 

One such solution is the recent launch of LORD Thermoset TC-1001, a thermally conductive, 10:1 mix ratio, acrylic structural adhesive. With a broad range of applications for bonding lithium ion cells to cooling plates, this product is similar to other LORD acrylics, yet it has higher thermal conductivity with comparable properties. Different than other commercially-available thermally conductive materials that require high cure temperatures, TC-1001 cures at room temperature with good thermal conductivity.

This product is yet another evolution and builds on the success of Thermoset SC-320 — a two-component system designed to retain desirable properties associated with silicones. Specially designed for thermal conductivity for electrical/electronic encapsulating applications, it exhibits low shrinkage and stress on components as it cures, and maintains a low viscosity for ease of component encapsulation compared to other highly thermal conductive materials.

Environmentally resistant and UL-rated to UL94V0 and 180C RTI, Thermoset SC-320 is composed of an addition-curing polydimethyl siloxane polymer that will not depolymerize when heated in confined spaces. Possible applications for SC-320 include those in which higher power at lighter weight is needed, such as motors for electric vehicles; aerospace actuators and motors; and portable power generation equipment.

As the trend towards battery-powered transportation continues, a question we ask ourselves as many others are jumping on the bandwagon is, “What is next?” Can we assume Tesla has the “car for the masses” or is a “secret” start up somewhere or are one of the big high-tech companies such as Google or Apple about to change the landscape further by launching something unimaginable?







Electric Vehicles: Is the U.S. Culture Ready for Infrastructure Changes?

by Jim Greig, Global Sales and Marketing Manager Electronic Materials, LORD Corporation

I recently had a conversation with my 13-year-old daughter about fossil fuels. The discussion was prompted by what she is learning in school – how the world is being depleted of natural resources and which alternative energy options are viable for the future. Even at a very young age, children are beginning to understand that dependence on fossil fuels for their generation and for their children’s generation is not practical. It’s not just the “cool” thing anymore to be into alternative energy; it is imperative.

Jim Greig, Global Sales and Marketing Manager Electronic Materials, LORD Corporation-photo

Jim Greig

Awareness of the exhaustion of fossil fuels, along with legislated emission standards throughout the world, is driving the alternative viewpoint towards alternative energy and electric vehicles. The auto industry is starting to take note of the world’s “greenification” as it develops hybrid vehicles and looks to fuel cells as a potential offset.

In addition to the emerging interest in electric vehicles for personal use, other enterprises are also considering alternatives to gas-fueled transport. Companies such as UPS and Fed-Ex are contemplating electrifying their trucks, which would be especially efficient for the type of “start-stop” driving that is done as packages are delivered. Electrification of school buses and public transportation is a big target for electrification, especially for reducing air pollution in city and suburban environments.

As electric vehicle technology advances and the cost of ownership becomes more feasible for the average driver, do we have the infrastructure available for recharging the vehicles as drivers go about their daily business? Right now, we don’t.

Just as we have gas stations on almost every corner in major cities and suburban areas, and “rest” stops along the highways, the U.S. will need to have a network of charging stations situated along roadsides and throughout cities and towns. While OEMs are working on bringing down the cost of electric vehicles, the infrastructure for charging the electric vehicles needs to be established.

Awareness of the exhaustion of fossil fuels, along with legislated emission standards throughout the world, is driving the alternative viewpoint towards alternative energy and electric vehicles.

Awareness of the exhaustion of fossil fuels, along with legislated emission standards throughout the world, is driving the alternative viewpoint towards alternative energy and electric vehicles.

One of the major drawbacks to the acceptance of electric vehicles is “range anxiety.” Yes, you can charge your electric vehicle in your home and it will be operational for 100-to-200 miles before needing a recharge. So while you can calculate your driving distance ahead of time before you will need a recharge, how much easier would it be to know that a recharging station is conveniently available? That is the key to mass adoption of electric vehicles – charging stations accessible everywhere in the U.S.

With a charging station infrastructure in place, electric vehicles become a viable option for both short and long journeys – local trips to school or work or the grocery store, and longer drives to for vacation or a business trip.

So the question is: Do you wait for more consumers to buy electric vehicles as the prices become more palatable and then begin to establish charging stations through the U.S.? or Do you make the investment in the charging stations now so they will be ready for the electric vehicle users?

Children in school are already mindful of the fact that the world’s resources are coming to an end, and they will be the driving force towards alternative energy use. Is the U.S. culture ready for the infrastructure changes that will be necessary for electric vehicle transportation?

For more information on how LORD technology can help electric vehicle companies save money and become more efficient, please contact us.