LG Chem develops flame-retardant plastic for electric vehicles

When used in battery components, the advanced flame barrier product is said to be resistant to flames for a longer period of time

LG Chem has developed a flame-retardant engineering plastic material capable of preventing the spread of flame in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The advanced flame barrier product is made from various composites, including polyphenylene oxide (PPO) and polyamide (PA) resin, which when used in battery components is said to be resistant to flames for a longer period of time.

During testing, the product was able to prevent the spread of flames by thermal propagation for more than 10 minutes at 1,000°C – 10 times longer than general plastics.

Thermal runaway is said to be the leading cause of EV battery fires, where various stressors can cause heat to build up within a battery cell.

According to LG Chem, when a battery cell exceeds its temperature threshold, fire can occur due to a short circuit triggered by factors such as overcharging and over-discharging, with the resulting fire difficult to extinguish as lithium reacts violently with water.

Commercial production of the product is expected to begin in 2023.

Steven Kim, Senior Vice President of Engineering Materials Division at LG Chem said: “We are proud to present this new product, a significant milestone for us after more than 10 years of dedicated research to deliver innovation for our customers.

“LG Chem continues to lead the rapidly evolving e-Mobility market and we will continue to lead innovations through consistent R&D and investments in manufacturing based on our world-class chemical compounding technology.”

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