As the global market for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continues to grow, electrification is shaping the future of automotive design. Electrification systems are more powerful and intricate than ever before to power the battery pack, drivetrain and in-vehicle technologies. To accommodate these complex systems and optimize their effectiveness, vehicle designs are changing at the structural level, where adhesives play a key role. This includes in-vehicle electronics and technology components, as well as structural elements in the vehicle Body-in-White (BIW) phase.
The Role of Adhesives
Lightweighting is critical for BEVs to compensate for the added weight of the battery pack, which can account for up to 700 kg (1543 lbs.) of mass. The materials mix used in lightweighting is enabled by adhesives, coatings and bonding solutions that keep disparate materials from interacting and causing corrosion, which can weaken structural components.
For BEVs, Henkel’s adhesive solutions, available in two-part acrylics and epoxies, combine structural bonding with critical thermal management properties. They can be applied to battery cells, the full battery module or the cooling plate to prevent thermal shock as well as high temperature and high humidity aging. Henkel’s Loctite UK 6800, a polyurethane adhesive, offers high thermal conductive properties. In addition, Henkel’s structural bonding solutions provide added measures of crash resistance to protect the battery pack.
Blending Material Science with Chemistry
To drive new ways of using smart chemistry to develop new bonding and lightweight solutions for BEVs, Henkel partnered with RLE International to form the Mobility Alliance.
The Pilot Project of the Mobility Alliance evaluated the potential for lightweight and safety concepts to downgauge the A-pillar/B-pillar reinforcements on one side of an e-SUV while maintaining the roof crush performance standards of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). Henkel’s structural solutions were used in targeted locations on the A- and B-pillars to create a hybrid solution that reduced BIW weight by 5.4 kg (12 lbs.) while exceeding IIHS standards.
Henkel’s hybrid structural solution consists of two material components made of reinforced polyamide and lightweight, high-performing structural foam from its TEROSON EP family of products. Overall, the Pilot Program achieved a significant overall weight savings of 42 kg (93 lbs.). These results demonstrate the importance of providing lightweighting and bonding solutions at the early stages of vehicle design and development, given that these material gains were achieved at the BIW stage.
All Henkel world regions have engineering teams that are fully capable of design, project management and launch support for OEM platforms. They also have in-house prototyping facilities utilizing 3D printers to provide parts dimensionally accurate to “off-tool” parts. In addition, Henkel’s regional engineering centers ensure project teams have direct access to local customer engineering centers. With its engineering and prototyping expertise, Henkel will continue to drive smart chemistry solutions for BEVs.
Pilot Project Results
Brooke Virost, North American e-Mobility Business Development Manager