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Tackling the Thermal Challenge

In a recent article from Compounding World magazine, our Global Business Developer for Witcom’s Conductive Compounds, Christine Van Bellingen explains the importance of thermally conductive plastics in new technologies.

In a market driven by mega trends such as trans­port electrification, miniaturisation, metal replace­ment and light-weighting, thermal management increasingly calls for high performance solutions. The low thermal conductivity of thermoplastics historically restricted their use in heat dissipation applications. However, additive and compound developers are rising to the challenge by employ­ing thermally conductive mineral fillers to create polymer compounds that remove excess heat and help keep the end application within its ideal operating temperature range.


As sales of electric vehicles (EVs) grow world­wide, for example, there is an increasing need for materials that can support the new technologies they run on. The lifespan of a battery pack can be prolonged if its temperature is kept at a constant and moderate level. Heat produced in the charge-discharge-cycle can be effectively transported away from the system using thermally conductive battery parts such as gap fillers, pads and structural parts. hese are often highly loaded with mineral fillers.

Thermally conductive plastics cannot yet be considered mainstream, but opportunities are there to be realised for com pounders. “Thermally conductive plastics remain very niche products,” says Christine Van Bellingen, Business Develop­ment Manager, Conductive Compounds, at Wittenburg Group’s Witcom Engineering Plastics. “There are barriers to a widespread use which are more price than technically-related when only a minor improvement is necessary over simple plastics. It is the role of the compounder to wisely select the plastics and additives that will offer the best compromise.”
Van Bellingen says that Witcom has the products and the ability to meet many of the emerging requirements but adds that partnerships are necessary to deliver the innovation required. “The minor space available and high weight of EV cars will push for new plastics developments involving thermally conductive or EMI shielded thermoplastic compounds, for ECU housings or battery cooling for instance,” she says.

To view the full article click here.

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