EV Thermal Management: How Adhesives Play a Crucial Role

Electric vehicles (EVs), just like their combustion engine counterparts, need optimal temperatures in order to run at their best. In traditional, petrol-powered cars, this is achieved through the car’s thermostat, engine coolant and radiator system. In EVs, thermal management involves the cooling of batteries, the motor and power electronic systems. But why exactly is thermal management so important in EVs? 

If an EV isn’t operating at an ideal temperature, its performance, reliability and robustness will be affected. It’s especially important that the battery is kept running at an ideal temperature, otherwise this can have a significant impact on the charging, duration and longevity of the vehicle battery, not to mention the risk of overheating should the battery become too hot. Battery thermal management can thus help manufacturers alleviate the range anxiety still prevalent amongst EV drivers. Thermal management is also key to maintaining power electronic systems, which are responsible for controlling electric motors in EVs. These motors perform a variety of functions, most important of which is turning the wheels!

Adhesives in EV Thermal Management

But what about the role of adhesives in EV thermal management? Adhesives play an important role in the production of battery packs, hybrid and electric vehicle battery cells and modules. They are used to secure components, drive heat away from the battery cells, absorb impact stresses and vibration and in many cases electrically isolate cells and reduce the risk of fire. Permabond has a unique range of liquid adhesive products suitable for use in battery and electric vehicle applications, and specializes in customizing formulations to meet battery manufacturers’ specific requirements. See our brochure here for more information. 

Keeping Conditions Right for EV Motors

I mentioned earlier the importance of thermal management on EV motors. These motors are often powered via neodymium magnets, for several reasons. Firstly, these magnets generate a high amount of torque, which allows for greater electrical to mechanical energy transfer. Secondly, they are extremely powerful magnets and generally not prone to demagnetization, i.e. they are permanent. In addition, these magnets are built to last at least 10 years and have to be able to withstand a wide array of temperatures (-40°C to as much as 160°C) as well as chemical and other automotive fluids. 

However, note that I said ‘generally not prone to demagnetization.’ This doesn’t mean that, under the right conditions, this couldn’t happen. One of the greatest risk factors for demagnetization is an overly high operating temperature. At these temperatures, the risk of the motor becoming overloaded or a fault occurring is more likely. This can lead to either instant or gradual demagnetization of the neodymium. In order to prevent this, we again return to optimal EV thermal management. High strength, high temperature-resistant adhesives can help ensure that the motor remains at an ideal operating temperature, while the adhesive bears the brunt of the heat. Adhesives also offer impact resistance, another key factor for electric motors, as heavy impacts can also lead to motor demagnetization. The ability to withstand impact stresses is therefore vital for the longevity and durability of EVs. 

Here at Permabond, we offer a wide range of adhesives suitable for bonding electric motors. Click here for an overview.

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