In order to employ composite electrical vehicle battery enclosures, General Motors (GM) cooperates with Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) using prepregs from Cytec Industrial Materials (Cytec). The result is the industry’s first application of a volatile-organic compound (VOC)-free thermoset vinyl ester resin woven glass reinforced prepreg.
For this project, Cytec developed MTM 23, a self-releasing rapid-cure vinyl ester resin system. Cytec and CSP also worked together on data generation, ply design and press production technology which enabled CSP to manufacture parts in less than 10 minutes at a 150° cure. But MTM 23 has the capability to be rapid-cured in less than 3 minutes, according to the companies. This new material enabled CSP to form a complex-shaped enclosure that protects the EV’s battery components in the event of a catastrophic event. The tough compression-moulded composite is 40% lighter than metallic solutions, helping the vehicle achieve extended range and enhanced performance. Since it is non-conductive, it protects occupants and first responders to an accident scene. Selective pattern layups allow for localized reinforcement. The application also features a large structural joint of composite to steel.
This unique application earned GM an SPE Automotive Division award (‘Electrical Systems’ category) at the recent 43rd SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala.