Self-extinguishing compounds for electric mobility

Self-extinguishing compounds for electric mobility, allow you to face the danger of flame and fire with low environmental impact

The advent of electric vehicles for public and private transport is a process that is now very much under way. Indeed, it is forecast that by 2040 a good 35% of registered cars will be electric powered, either battery powered (BEVs) or plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs).

All the major car manufacturers and internal combustion engine specialists are now seeking to diversify their production, so as to be able to accommodate this completely new and revolutionary technology.

This historic transition throws up numerous challenges to be met, the main one being the safe management of the significant electrical voltages and currents present in these vehicles.

All the structural parts, the batteries and the systems controlling and transporting electrical energy must, in fact, be able to guarantee maximum user protection at all times: when the vehicle is running, when it is being recharged, and when it is parked, not to mention in the event of accidents.

Clearly, then, the use of materials resistant to electrical voltages and able to cope with the fire risk associated with the presence of short circuits, or simply the high temperature of metal parts, is fundamental.

For all these reasons, self-extinguishing plastic compounds are now rightly taking their place in the automotive world, emerging as ideal products from which to make charging systems, as well as supports and housings for electrical and electronic parts, engine parts and batteries.

Furthermore, knowing the most important parameters to monitor, namely flame retardancy, glow wire resistance, thermal and physical aging, resistance to environmental conditions and creeping currents, dielectric rigidity and mechanical strength, is just as important as choosing the right material. The decision-making process is complex and calls for highly specific skills.

LATI, strengthened by half a century of experience in the world of self-extinguishing compounds, is ideally placed to offer car designers valuable know-how, experience and the best materials.

The aim is to generate effective solutions such as those fielded by the major players in the E&E and rail transport sector with which LATI has always collaborated – solutions able to give excellent results even in situations that are, from the regulatory standpoint, extremely complex and demanding.

Thanks to LATI’s self-extinguishing compounds, born of years of research and ongoing improvement, it is now possible to address the fire and flame hazard problem through solutions that, in addition to their low environmental impact, are modern and versatile, in other words, suitable for creating complex geometries of any size, as well as structural elements and other functional parts.

The LATI range self-extinguishing grades covers all resins, none excluded: PA and PBT for traditional applications, PPS and PPA for high temperatures, PEEK for extreme conditions.

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PPA and carbon for fuel lines

PPA and carbon for fuel lines

The automotive industry is certainly among those in which high performance thermoplastic compounds have seen an exponential increase in interest and applications over the last few years. The reasons are many: From the ever-pressing need to contain weights and costs to the widespread use of electronics in the control of the vehicle and its utilities, from hybrid solutions involving the management of electric and thermal loads to temperature increase in the underhood environment. LATI’s special compounds are the natural answer to all these needs embodied in the evolution of the concept of car and transport.

So PPS, PSU, PPA, and PEEK are used near the engine for their thermal properties, self-extinguishing materials where important electric currents are to be handled, electrically conductive and shielding compounds for the protection of onboard electronics and computers, thermally conductive grades for cooling of LED optical solutions, and structural materials wherever robustness and strength of metal are required.
Fuel transport is a particularly critical field within the complex propulsion system for obvious safety and reliability reasons.

Any part operating with fuel streams must withstand continuous contact with hydrocarbons without embrittlement or loss of strength. Accumulation of electrostatic charges is also to be avoided due to the risk of malfunction or fire.

For these reasons, SAROPLAST, an Italian company specializing in the molding of high performance resins, has chosen the LARAMID K/30 compound for the manufacture of fittings used on diesel fuel transport lines. The reasons for this choice are the excellent chemical resistance of the PPA matrix to oils, solvents, greases and hydrocarbons, as well as the electrical and mechanical properties offered by 30% carbon fiber contained in the compound.

Carbon, in fact, allows to have electrically conductive technopolymers, so perfectly suitable for electrostatic discharge to ground. At the same time, fibers also increase the structural strength and dimensional stability of the molded part, which are parameters required to safely handle the pressure and fuel flow to the engine.

As is customary in underhood applications, operating temperature, too, requires to be safely managed. In this case, LARAMID K/30 ensures maximum performance beyond the required 130° C.
The range of LATI solutions based on aromatic polyamides includes not only carbon fiber reinforced products, but also purely structural grades with up to 60% glass fiber, self-extinguishing, self-lubricating and thermally conductive products.

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Self-extinguishing compounds and rail industry

Self-extinguishing compounds and rail industry: a growing dual concept

Recent innovations in LATI S.p.A. self-extinguishing thermoplastic compounds have caught the interest of designers operating in the world of rail transport.
In this regard, a factor of primary interest is the absence of halogenated flame retardants and red phosphorus that characterizes the new HF1 formulations.

This is an essential first step towards the reduction of danger of fumes produced by the materials in case of fire.

Equally important are the certifications of conformity to the requirements of the European industry standard EN45545, which states for each tested compound the suitability for use inside or outside of the car based on the fire behavior, as well as the opacity and toxicity of fumes produced during combustion.

Consisting of PA66 with 25% glass fiber reinforcement, LATAMID 66 H2 G/25-V0HF1 is one of the materials expected to become most successful in the railway sector due to its environmentally friendly self-extinguishing formulation, excellent mechanical properties, and especially its compliance to Hazard Levels HL1 – HL2 – HL3 set out in the EN 45545 standard for use both inside and outside of the car body (R22-R23).
The German world-leading company in the field of filtration systems for gases and liquids, has chosen LATAMID 66 H2 G/25-V0HF1 for the manufacture of the fastening systems used in filter elements for air purification of train compartments.

The choice was conditioned not only by the material approvals as per EN 45545, but also by the excellent self-extinguishing properties of the compound, i.e. UL94-V0 up to 0.75 mm, and high resistance to static and dynamic mechanical stresses.
Finally, dimensional stability is critical for the fastening system, which consists of brackets for which the absence of deformation and compliance with geometric tolerances is a necessary condition for proper functioning.

V0HF1 compound family includes grades developed on PA66, PBT, and PPA.
In particular, V0HF1 compounds based on PA66 are offered with 25-50% glass fiber reinforcement and UL certification so as to meet even the most demanding mechanical requirements as, for example, in the case of thermoset replacement.

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Self-extinguishing materials now even 50% recyclable!

Self-extinguishing materials now even 50% recyclable!

Reducing the impact on the environment and human health: a fundamental cross-cutting theme for products and processes of the entire industrial world.
LATI is traditionally attentive to conduct its activities and propose materials in full compliance with the most stringent safety rules in the conversion, use and disposal of compounds placed on the market.

This is proved, for example, by the RoHS and Reach compliance of every grade belonging to the company’s product portfolio, the ISO 14000 certification, and the development of the LATIGEA sustainable product range.
The development of HF1, a family of halogen, red phosphorus, and antimony free self-extinguishing materials is also included in this context.
Recycling of already processed materials is naturally placed in the context of reduction in raw material consumption and complex production waste management.

Driven by these facts and particularly attentive customers, LATI wanted to get the approval by UL, an internationally recognized certification body, for the recovery of up to 50% by weight of production waste from one of the most important self-extinguishing grades of its range, LATAMID 66 H2 G/25-V0CT1.
UL officially allows the recovery of 25% by weight of already converted material.
Now, with this new approval, it will be possible to increase the amount of recoverable product, thus not only reducing the environmental impact associated with the production of plastic waste, but also obtaining a significant reduction in the cost of the finished product.
LATAMID 66 H2 G/25-V0CT1 is a flame retardant compound based on 25% glass fiber reinforced PA66 in which flame resistance and excellent GWFI and GWIT values are obtained with heat stabilized halogenated systems.

It is the CT1 formula that also allows subsequent molding operations without incurring significant degradation and deterioration of electrical, mechanical and flame protection properties. UL validated the extraordinary CT1 behavior, which did not show performance reduction, with 50% recovery in all colors.
This new approval makes the already brilliant CT1 proposal even more attractive for a variety of electrical and electronic applications both in industry – where the CT1 offers an extraordinary GWFI of 960°C – and the appliance sector, where self-extinguishing properties at low thicknesses require particularly high GWIT and GWEP.

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