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New Epoxy Prepreg Delivers Superior Flame Retardancy in Battery Enclosures

SolvaLite from Solvay meets the automotive sector's demand for materials that protect electric batteries from fire hazards.

Stephen Moore

December 5, 2023

1 Min Read
Flame test
UL 2596 flame test performed on a SolvaLite 716 FR component.Image courtesy of Solvay

At a Glance

  • The new material outperforms aluminum and discontinuous-fiber composites in UL flammability tests
  • Allows passengers sufficient escape time in the event of a thermal runaway
  • EMI shielding performance an added bonus

Solvay has launched SolvaLite 716 FR, a fast-curing epoxy prepreg system designed for a range of structural parts and reinforcements in premium battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

"The automotive industry sees a need for new material solutions for battery components with superior flame retardancy compared to conventional thermoset prepregs and aluminum, and which allow passengers sufficient escape time in the event of a thermal runaway," explains Stefano Montani, transportation marketing manager at Solvay. "Structural battery housing solutions must also ensure reliable [electromagnetic interference] shielding performance and enable efficient processing of large volumes at high production rates. Our new SolvaLite prepreg combines all these properties with a significant lightweighting potential compared to incumbent solutions."

SolvaLite 716 FR is primarily targeted at flame-retardant battery enclosure applications for premium and super-premium BEVs. It has a dry glass transition temperature (Tg) of 145°C (293°F) and has been shown to outperform aluminum and discontinuous-fiber composites in practical UL 2596 flammability tests by providing protection at a wall thickness of just 2 mm. Beyond the automotive industry, the new material also opens up potential for other components where fire safety is key to meeting general UL94 V-0 specifications.

This system is designed for rapid curing, offering a press cure time of eight minutes at 150°C (302°F). Higher temperature and shorter cycle time capability help converters achieve more efficient production routes, such as with Solvay’s proprietary double-diaphragm forming (DDF) technology. SolvaLite 716 FR is available in a highly customized range of formats and continuous-fiber types aimed at meeting demanding mechanical requirements, under worst-case loading conditions, minimizing component thicknesses and optimizing enclosure volume for increased volumetric energy density or vehicle z-height.

SolvaLite 716 FR will be commercially available by the end of 2023.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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