Continental Structural Plastics’ materials innovations address EVs’ needs

Environmental and safety demands of electric vehicles to be met by several new advanced composite formulations

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ContinentalContinental Structural Plastics (CSP) has announced introducing many new advanced composite formulations.

The new formulations are aimed at meeting the most stringent electric vehicle battery enclosure performance standards for flammability, thermal runaway and VOC emissions while offering the design flexibility of sheet molding compound (SMC).

According to Continental Structural Plastics, which is a Teijin Group Company, these new composites include a low VOC formulation, an ATH filled system, an intumescent system and a phenolic system.

Steve Rooney, CEO of CSP and General Manager of Teijin’s Composites Business Unit, stated: “The different chemistries our R&D teams have developed provide our customers with a range of advanced composite materials that can be tailored to meet their exact specifications.”

He added: “And with our global manufacturing and compounding footprint, we are the only company in the world that can compound these materials in North America, Europe and Asia, ensuring our customers consistency and quality regardless of which CSP facility is manufacturing the component.”

The low VOC formulation addresses the VOC regulations which were initially developed nearly a decade ago by the European Union and made stricter two years ago.

In a bid to address these regulatory and customer targets in Europe and Asia, Continental Structural Plastics modified its TCA Ultra Lite material, eliminating benzene as a byproduct.

This prompted the material to meet VOC requirements after standard prime and E-coat oven bake cycles. At the same time, outside of the United States most parts will not undergo high temperature paint bakes so further VOC reduction was required. CSP’s newest low VOC material releases significantly fewer VOCs as molded; no benzene, phenol or NMP post-bake, and just 1-2 ppm of styrene post-bake, depending on the bake process used.

Safety benchmark

One safety benchmark CSP’s new materials can achieve is releasing fewer to zero VOCs. When it comes to electric vehicle battery enclosures, composites can be used to reduce weight, improve strength and stiffness, and improve vehicle safety when made from chemistries that are flame retardant and help to contain thermal runway.

CSP is launching three such formulations that can be adapted using different fiber types or formats, such as glass, carbon, blended, chopped and/or continuous.

These proprietary formulas include a traditional high-fill polyester/vinyl ester ATH system that uses conventional SMC chemistries, an intumescent system utilizing chemistry similar to traditional SMC and a phenolic system, which is ideal for high temperature applications where parts must meet fire safety, smoke emission, combustion and toxicity requirements.

(With inputs from Automotive Lead Research Team)

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