BEV thermal management: Thermal Interface Materials (TIM)



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BEV thermal management: Thermal Interface Materials (TIM)

Article by Dr Hediyeh Zahabi, July 21, 2022

As we continue to move towards new mobilities and the electrification of vehicles in general, the thermal management of batteries has become a critical element that must be taken into account. Thermal management in battery electric vehicles (BEV) is related to regulating the temperature of the battery to maintain its optimal operating conditions at all times. A battery’s performance is inextricably linked to its temperature, which impacts areas such as the time it takes to charge, its ability to maintain capacity, health and overall performance. At the same time, temperature regulation is very important for passenger safety, as overheating and potential thermal runaway can put passengers at risk.

Thermal management requires special materials (#)Anchor

Materials developers at Datwyler, a supplier of system-critical high-performance polymer products, have been working to develop thermally conductive materials to support the thermal management of BEVs, including Thermal Interface Materials (TIMs).

TIMs, by directing heat away from the source to the cooling systems, help maintain the optimal temperature of the battery systems. The cooling or heating capacity of these materials is directly linked to the thermal conductivity called lambda and is expressed in W.mK.

There are many different forms and types of TIMs, ranging from conventional “solid” rubber compounds, foams, resins, adhesives and others. Among other things, these materials can be transformed into in-place forms (foams, adhesives, resins and usually thermosetting materials) and into self-contained seals (rubber compounds).

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At Datwyler, we focus on stand-alone gasket solutions based on various polymer matrices. Self-contained joints have some advantages over in-place forming solutions. First, it allows recyclability of battery packs where the system can be completely disassembled at the end of its life.

Form-in-place solutions often “glue” different parts of the battery together inseparably. The composition of a rubber compound for a self-contained seal can also be adjusted for specific environments, it is lightweight and flexible, and it allows the integration of additional material properties such as electrical conductivity and shielding against electromagnetic interference (EMI).

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Materials Development Expertise Delivers Many BenefitsAnchor

A benchmarking study of our materials, which draws direct comparisons with other sealing solution providers, in addition to advanced simulations, shows that the performance of our material under selected fast load conditions shows a temperature decrease of the cell by about 6K compared to the industry standard – which is considered to be at a level around 1 W.mK. Such a drop in temperature gives passengers an extra element of safety and can indirectly create “space” for even faster charging supporting the latest generation of superchargers. It can also help prevent overheating of batteries and the creation of dendrites, ensuring optimal long-term performance at high output levels.

In addition to leading the way in terms of the thermal conductivity of conventional sealing rubber compounds, Datwyler is also able to optimize these compounds internally, taking into account the environment, the density of these materials and the their hardness. Weight is also taken into account, as lightening is essential to extend the range of BEVs. Literally every gram counts and therefore it is imperative to focus not only on thermal conductivity but also on material performance and the balance of all properties.

An advanced simulation study examining the cooling efficiency of the TIM developed at Datwyler in a battery under selected fast charging conditions.

Thermally conductive compounds developed by Datwyler feature a material density of less than 2 g.cm3 and can be as low as half that of our closest competitor. This translates to a weight saving of 1.8 kg in the design selected for the advanced simulation study.

Continuous improvement is driven through dedicated projects (#)Anchor

To help our customers in the transition to e-mobility, Datwyler is expanding its in-house capabilities not only focusing on thermally conductive materials, but also the aforementioned electrically conductive and EMI shielding materials, all of which are covered by Project ETEMI™.

The ETEMI™ project covers the development of materials ranging from conventional elastomers to liquid silicone rubber (LSR) and thermoplastics. The goal is to ensure that customers diversifying into hybrid and battery electric vehicles are able to realize the full potential of the system’s critical sealing components with enhanced features – such as the sealing of the battery with thermally conductive elastomer materials to provide environmental protection and support in terms of battery heat transfer.

An example of a seal in a battery pack produced with a thermally conductive elastomer material.

Ultimately, ETEMI™ will be the catalyst for creating a matrix of materials in which electrical and thermal conductivity and EMI shielding can be coupled and decoupled to suit a wide variety of applications.

Learn more about the ETEMI™ project:

Dr. Hediyeh Zahabi

Hardware Development Manager

T +41 41 875 31 61

For more information or to speak to a Datwyler expert, please contact us.


Dätwyler Holding AG published this content on July 21, 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on Jul 20, 2022 21:53:08 UTC.

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