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thermal management electric vehicles
Lee K. HouseSep 18, 20233 min read

Thermal Management in Electric Vehicles: Using Tapes

Did you know that electric car batteries could be held together by tape? 

Some tapes are vital in reducing modern EV weight and improving their safety. But how else can tape improve thermal management? 

At Strouse, we’re often approached by companies hoping to build new electric vehicle components, which require thermal management. Thanks to our manufacturing experience, we can suggest different types of EV tapes and optimize the design for your intended part application. 

If you’re interested in improving EV thermal management, buckle up to learn how manufacturers use tape to improve the safety of their EV batteries. 

WHAT IS THERMAL MANAGEMENT IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES?

By now, you’ve probably witnessed videos of electric vehicles going up in flames; this phenomenon is caused by thermal runaway. 

One hazard of owning an EV is the risk of the battery overheating, catching fire, and spreading throughout the rest of the vehicle. Thermal management reduces the chances of thermal runaway in EV batteries by addressing risk areas. 

4 Ways Manufacturers Use Tape for EV Thermal Management

Whether you’re choosing foam insulation for heat or sound deadening, tape can serve many purposes within electric vehicles. By incorporating specialized tapes into your design, you can reduce the battery flammability risk

Let’s talk about how you might use tape for EV thermal management. 

1. Improving Safety

As previously mentioned, one of the biggest electric car safety topics is reducing the risk of thermal runaway. 

When designing an EV battery pack, you’re factoring in many safety goals simultaneously: providing cushioning, sealing out dirt and water, sealing out excess heat, etc. 

Designs aimed at prioritizing thermal management use multipurpose materials with sealing AND cushioning abilities to not only contain heat but also provide more structural stability. 

2. Heat Control

The main issue regarding heat control in electric vehicles is sudden changes in operating temperature ranges, leading to unequal heat distribution throughout the battery and overheating. 

What types of adhesives are in EV batteries?

By joining an EV battery's inner and outer components and reducing gaps, high bondage adhesives serve as strong seals that hold together parts while safely containing the heat. 

The 2019 fire rate of newly made electric passenger vehicles was 0.34 per 10,000 units; within a year, it fell to 0.18 per 10,000 units, demonstrating marked thermal safety improvements. 

Automotive companies have improved safety by using high-temp-resistant materials like acrylic foam tape to bond components and achieve better thermal management in their designs.

In addition, insulating the battery from outside temperatures will help prevent sudden changes that might have extreme consequences on the rest of the vehicle. 

3. Preventing Arcing or Dielectric Protection

Proper electrical insulation is a crucial component of EV battery functionality, and wrapping certain areas of the battery pack with tape can help to reduce arcing and other issues.

There's a high risk of overheating when electrical currents flow irregularly to the module or sides of a battery pack.

Placing dielectric tapes and insulators on individual cells, or using them to attach conductive pathways such as busbars, can help control the electric current and mitigate the chance of overheating.

The adhesive tape effectively supports dielectric strength because it’s fast to apply and uniform in conductivity. However, there are geometric limitations where you’ll want to ensure that its shape fits where you want it. 

Depending on the placement, you might want to seek conformable dielectric tape, which uses a thick liner so it can easily be cut and converted.

4. Cushioning Protection For the Battery Pack

Vehicles move. They hit curbs, potholes, and sometimes even other vehicles. And at the end of the day, nobody wants a minor accident to transform into a colossal vehicle failure.

Adhesive foam tape or pads are cushions that hold cells in place to prevent collision or vibration damage. These thermal gap pads could wedge outside of the battery or in between the cells. 

Any harm to a battery cell can hurt design functionality, and cushioning protection for the battery pack reduces it to avoid triggering extreme thermal reactions

Developing a Design for Automotive Thermal Management

Designing an EV battery setup can be challenging, with thermal management as a primary consideration. Still, when you have the right expertise, you can design and produce components to increase the safety and effectiveness of your vehicle. 

Request a Sample Today

Are you developing components to assist the thermal management of your electric vehicles? Whether it’s cell-to-cell bonding, compression pads, or another design you’re developing, submit one of your drawings, and we’ll help you get a sample of your part for prototyping and testing.

Otherwise, you can learn more about manufacturing parts for EV batteries in our Learning Center.

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Lee K. House

Copywriter & Content Creator for Strouse. Lee graduated from the University of Alabama in the Spring of 2022 with a double major in English and Spanish.

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