Osaka, Japan–based Unitika has developed a series of polyamide (PA) resins that it says can be applied in demanding thermal-management applications. The company has tailored specific grades for applications such as LED components and electric motor parts that are utilized in the auto and electrical/electronic sectors where thermal management is indispensable. These grades are based on various polymer structures.
|Thermally conductive polyamides target electric and hybrid vehicle applications.|
Unitika has identified hybrid and electric vehicles as a promising application for its PA resins, given demand growth for these vehicle types and the fact that numerous motors need to be enclosed in confined spaces. Electric motors themselves are also becoming increasingly compact, thus spurring demand for more efficient thermal management solutions. Further, metal replacement by plastic components is high on the list of priorities in order to achieve lightweighting. With fewer thermally-conductive metal components, the corresponding performance requirements for engineering plastic compounds are getting tougher.
The thermally conductive PA line-up includes grades based on PA 6, PA 66 and aromatic PAs. Unitika is marketing its aromatic PA resins under the XecoT moniker. Each conductive grade incorporates a filler that neither unduly increases the compound density versus insulating grades, nor compromises mechanical properties. Injection molding processability also is said to be outstanding. For example, a thermally-conductive PA 6 grade, N1010RG, exhibits a bar flow length of 235 mm at 280°C and 150 MPa (1-mm thick test pieces). Unitika has split its offerings into electrically insulative and conductive types that exhibit varying degrees of thermal conductivity.