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Henkel launches new fire protection solutions for safer EV batteries

As the pace of electric vehicle adoption and innovation accelerates, OEMs and EV battery manufacturers are striving to develop more efficient ways to build batteries at scale. At the same time, fire protection remains critical to ensure vehicle batteries provide the best possible safety in the case of accidents and fires.

This is especially important as regulatory demands become more rigorous. Hence, EV battery safety technologies that delay the spread of fire have never been more vital.

To take on this challenge, Henkel has launched two new protective coating products designed to shield the battery housings against heat and fire in the case of a thermal runaway event – Loctite EA 9400 and Loctite FPC 5060.

When applied to battery packs, the coatings help to inhibit and delay the spread of fires to protect the passengers as they evacuate the vehicle. Meanwhile, their efficient and cost-effective application processes ensure that manufacturers can continue to optimise battery production without compromising on safety, according to Henkel.

“Battery safety is an increasingly important topic for OEMs and battery manufacturers alike,” said Stephan Hoefer, market strategy head for e-mobility at Henkel. “Thermal runaway events are possible in any lithium-ion battery, but the key is to minimise the risks and consequences. At Henkel, we are seeking to minimise the impact of such events through effective and practical solutions that can delay the spread of fire. This is vital to ensure that passengers have sufficient time to evacuate the vehicle.”

Whether due to mechanical, thermal, or electrical incidents – thermal runaway events can occur when a battery cell enters into a heating state and ignites a fire that spreads to neighbouring cells. Battery safety solutions help to reduce or slow such events, thereby increasing time for vehicle evacuation.

This time window is increasingly subject to regulation: China has already enacted regulations that specify a required time window and other markets are expected to follow suit in due course as regulatory frameworks for EV safety evolve.

Designed for automated mass production, Loctite EA 9400 and Loctite FPC 5060 can be applied either by “spray” or “flat stream” and both are compatible with common automated dispensing systems. Both applications also cure at room temperature, thereby helping to reduce energy consumption and emissions.

Henkel says its Loctite EA 9400 is a two-component, active flame-retardant, epoxy-based fire protective coating designed for the battery pack housing. With minimising weight of EVs and batteries a high priority, the product has been designed to be applied in a thin layer that doesn’t add much weight to the battery.

Thanks to its foaming characteristics and tough formulation for “outstanding environmental resistance”, Loctite EA 9400 can be applied on both the inside and outside of the battery pack housing to provide excellent versatility. As well as providing light-weight thermal protection, it also prevents battery box corrosion.

Also created for the battery pack housing, Loctite FPC 5060 is a one-component, water-based, inorganic material that does not form any smoke or fumes when exposed to flame. Its inorganic formulation does not include any hazardous chemicals and produces no smoke, no fumes, and no carbon during a fire – thereby further protecting passengers, Henkel says.