After months of delicately crafting EV modules, would you haphazardly slap the battery onto the undercarriage of your car?
The safety of EV batteries is heavily impacted by heat and other physical damage, so protecting your battery configuration through insulation and shock absorption is a crucial step in EV battery design.
Strouse regularly helps customers design and build components intended to withstand high temperatures and vibrations, so we feel comfortable suggesting materials that could work for you.
As you read on, you’ll better understand how EV battery insulation works, the materials you can use, and the options you might have when it comes to custom insulation.
Why are EV Battery Packs Insulated?
Protecting EV battery components helps to prevent critical damage, like thermal runaways, and to meet the UL 9540 standard.
EV battery pack insulation controls the internal flow of heat to avoid short circuits. This insulation also protects the individual components within the battery pack from damage caused by rough movement, A.K.A. collisions.
Minor scrapes on an EV battery can eventually lead to thermal runaway propagation. Even if the thermal runaway was isolated to the modules, the cost of replacing an EV battery might exceed $15,000.
Because electric vehicle battery failure can be highly dangerous, insulating the space between modules and cells and securing the battery to the vehicle in a shock-resistant way to reduce the risk of total rupture are critical facets of any design.
What Material Insulates EV Batteries?
Most adhesives within EV batteries are used to bond together the internal components.
While many types of adhesive are used to join all the different pieces within EV batteries, the insulating materials regulate their inner temperature.
To give you a clear picture of the insulation and shock absorption material you might want to use, we’ll list a few useful examples in EV batteries. However, keep in mind that many EV battery designs are highly innovative and will benefit from alternative insulating materials depending on the design of the battery and the materials you use.
1. SILICONE POLYMERS (WITH CERAMIC)
Electric car battery manufacturers use lightweight silicone polymers to increase battery safety without adding additional weight and stress to the surrounding components.
Silicone can protect EV batteries in multiple ways depending on the design, such as insulating individual cells from heat or by conducting it to other parts of the battery.
For example, when ceramic is combined with silicone, it creates an extremely heat-resistant combination.
Technical ceramics are a well-known solution to thermal conductivity. Ceramic has strong heat dissipation abilities and the ability to sustain high temperatures for long periods of time without exceeding its limit (i.e. leading to thermal runaway).
Although ceramic takes longer to heat up, there’s a smaller risk of losing control because it does an excellent job of encapsulating and sustaining the battery heat and processing it at a consistent temperature.
In addition to its thermally conductive properties and how they’re used in conjunction with ceramic, silicone can brace components to prevent damage caused by vibration or sudden movements.
2. THERMAL GAP PADS
Thermal gap pads are a type of thermal interface material, A.K.A. gap fillers between heat sources that facilitate heat flow and dissipation. They are often made out of different kinds of foam and silicone polymers.
Depending on the individual battery design, thermal gap pads might fit in between the individual battery cells or between the electric battery and the vehicle’s chassis.
Many of these gap filler materials are cut in basic shapes, but others have more complex designs or compositions that could be challenging to process on a larger scale.
Silicone struggles to adhere to other materials that aren’t itself, so if you’re designing a silicone adhesive thermal gap pad, you need to be aware it could become necessary to choose a particular adhesive when making double sided attachments to non-silicone materials.
How Should I Properly Insulate and Protect My EV Battery?
As electric vehicle technology develops, EV battery design will continue to evolve, meaning proper insulation and protection will depend on the construction of your electric car and the combination of your materials and design.
One of the best ways to properly protect your EV battery is to find the most effective insulation and shock absorption design. Not only should it be functional, but also practical to manufacture on a large scale.
In addition, investing in insulation isn’t the only way to protect your EV battery from harm. If you feel confident in your insulation, but you’re still working on the internal construction and other connections, you’ll want to consider EV battery sealing.
Trying out new, complex material designs to discover the safest, most efficient method of creating an EV battery has become a part of the design process.
Remember that you can always reach out to a manufacturer to prototype your EV battery adhesives if you’re looking for suitable materials or testing design adjustments.