CES 2023: Advanced Materials Developer Showcases Innovations for Advanced Mobility, Consumer Markets
Celanese will feature advanced material initiatives for electric vehicles and consumer electronics.
No system is 100% efficient, and all powered systems and electronics generate some heat that needs to be dissipated or otherwise managed. System designers all work toward minimizing heat generation, but depending on the physical size of a system, the operating environment, and power levels, careful consideration must be given to managing the thermal environment. This can include ensuring sufficient heat is removed from a system to avoid exceeding thermal limits and selecting materials that will maintain their robustness in the thermal environment.
EVs require advanced materials to help manage the thermal environment. Image used courtesy of Celanese
Material Properties Impact Thermal Performance
The need for lighter, mobile solutions with higher power densities makes thermal management more difficult. In this respect, advanced materials can be essential to the performance of systems like electric vehicles (EVs) and consumer electronics due to their physical robustness under high heat, lightweight, and good thermal conductivity.
This is certainly the perspective of chemical solutions and specialty materials manufacturer Celanese. The company will showcase several new advanced material solutions for mobility and consumer markets at the 2023 CES show in Las Vegas.
New Solutions for EV Batteries
According to Celanese, EV batteries face design challenges, including higher energy densities, increasing manufacturing complexity, and more challenging thermal conditions. These issues can significantly impact EV costs, performance, and safety. With its recent acquisition of Dupont’s Mobility and Materials brands, the company is enhancing its position as a solution provider to help OEMs address these challenges.
The new portfolio should complement the company’s existing solutions for EV battery applications like Lithium-ion Battery Separators (LiBS). The LiBS is a permeable membrane between the EV battery anode and cathode. This membrane prevents direct contact between the battery anode and cathode to avoid short circuits but simultaneously allows ions to flow freely during charge and discharge cycles. The LiBS is one of the most critical components for EV battery health and safety. Celanese’s GUR ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) material helps ensure its performance.
Lithium-ion battery separators. Image used courtesy of Celanese
Wireless EV Charging
Celanese is also looking to help bring wireless EV charging to the market. In partnership with customer VMAX New Energy, Zytel polyamides, a brand also acquired through the Dupont acquisition, will be used in the VMAX wireless EV charging platform due to its material strength and stiffness to heat resistance. The company is also presenting a new chemical bonding technology that will help join aluminum with polyamide.
The VMAX wireless charging platform can deliver up to 9.5 kW of three-phase AC charging capacity to an EV without a charging cable. While convenient for general use, this could be a particularly valuable solution for autonomous vehicles, eliminating the need for human intervention for cable connection during the recharge process.
EV wireless charging. Image used courtesy of VMAX New Energy
Lightweight Heat Sinks
Heat sinks constructed from polymers are critical to removing heat and maintaining system temperature in lightweight consumer electronics and automotive applications. Thermally conductive polymers like CoolPoly TCP E3629 can offer as much as 200 times more thermal conductivity than conventional plastics with a weight 40% less than metals like aluminum. These lightweight, thermally conductive plastics also find use cases in LED and home appliance applications.
According to Celanese, using CoolPoly conductive plastic in an automotive Engine Control Unit (ECU) resulted in a 45% weight reduction compared with metal solutions.