Gaskets and seals for electric vehiclesJohn Moot
There are more than 1.3 billion motor vehicles worldwide today, one billion of which are passenger cars. This number is expected to rise to two billion by 2035. This poses major challenges not only for Germany, but for almost all industrialized and emerging countries: Traffic-related emissions of CO2, air pollutants and noise are a headache, and dependence on oil imports continues to grow.
Electromobility is the key to climate-friendly mobility and innovation worldwide. The operation of electric vehicles produces significantly less CO2, especially when combined with renewably generated electricity. In addition, electric vehicles with their energy storage systems can compensate for fluctuations in wind and solar power in the future, thus supporting the expansion and market integration of these unsteady energy sources.
In electric vehicles, seals are used in battery systems, which are produced by Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH. The battery packs in vehicles are located in panels consisting of an upper and a lower housing. Seals are used to separate these sections and prevent particles and liquids from entering these housing parts. They have a similar application in hybrid vehicle battery systems, which are extremely sensitive to temperature changes.
Many automakers have announced that they will electrify their vehicle platforms and portfolios in the coming years. With this move toward increased electrification, battery packs will become increasingly important as the central power source for many types of vehicles.
The battery packs used in most modern electric vehicles are quite different from those used in cell phones or other portable devices. Electric vehicle battery packs typically consist of hundreds or thousands of cells arranged in modules, usually surrounded by channels of liquid coolant to keep the battery within its desired temperature range. While lithium-ion batteries are the main power source for most electric cars, automakers are moving toward solid-state batteries with the goal of eventually bringing them to market.
Electric vehicle battery packs: the function of seals.
Heat and the ingress of moisture and other contaminants can greatly affect the performance of battery packs. For this reason, the seals used in batteries must be able to withstand the effects of heat while protecting the battery from potential contaminants such as moisture and dirt.
In electric vehicles, batteries are typically contained in housings that consist of an upper and lower section. Seals are used to separate these sections and prevent water, dust, moisture and salt from entering the battery pack. Should these elements enter an battery pack, the life and performance of the battery can be significantly affected.
In addition to sealing against environmental elements, battery pack seals help control and regulate the heat generated by the battery pack, and they also prevent the fugitive emission of gases and liquids. Finally, electric vehicle battery pack seals perform an important function in dampening noise and vibration that could affect the battery pack or disturb vehicle occupants.
In addition to the ability to seal the battery pack from temperature, air, dust, and water, other factors to consider when sourcing seals for battery packs include fire resistance and compression set.
Battery pack seals from Dr. Müller
Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH manufactures and supplies battery pack seals for electric vehicle applications. These gaskets are manufactured under strictly controlled conditions in our ISO 9001 certified facilities using the latest CNC manufacturing technology by stamping, water jet cutting and laser cutting.
Materials for Battery Seals
Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH manufactures battery seals from a range of elastomer and sponge/foam materials.
One of the materials we use for battery sealing applications is a specially formulated silicone foam. This material provides excellent sealing protection against the elements, and its excellent compression set and closed cell structure provide a reliable seal over a long service life. The silicone foam can withstand a range of extreme temperatures (-60°C to 230°C), making it an ideal material for automotive applications where temperatures can fluctuate widely.
For battery applications, the silicone foam is flame retardant to UL94 V0 and has low smoke and low toxicity properties, improving the safety, reliability and life of battery packs. The foam is available in a variety of densities.
Selection and advice on choosing the right sealing material
The application engineering department of Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH provides advice regarding the selection of the appropriate sealing material as well as the correct manufacturing process to provide the seals according to the technical and logistical requirements of battery system manufacturers. It is possible to produce single pieces, small series as well as mass stamped parts.
All manufacturing processes are available at Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH.