Efficient thermal management: key role for plastics
Efficient thermal management means controlling heat flows in line with requirements so that an optimum is achieved for each operating state. It is thus a key element in energy and resource efficiency, e.g., in electromobility, lighting or building technology. Thermal management also plays a decisive role in modern thermal insulation systems for building or plant insulation and thus contributes significantly to the reduction of environmentally harmful greenhouse gases.
In terms of miniaturization and increased efficiency of electronic components as well as an ever-increasing number of highly integrated functional components (e.g., in the field of lighting technology, sensor technology, etc.), cost-effective manufacturing processes involving thermally conductive plastics are in greater demand than ever before. Plastics that are optimally tailored in terms of their application and processing properties and that combine, for example, thin wall thicknesses with sufficiently good mechanical properties play a key role in this regard.
Particularly in the fields of electromobility and R&D, there is the additional challenge of cushioning temperature peaks, e.g., during fast charging processes. It is often not possible to dissipate the thermal energy directly or this would lead to over-dimensioning of the cooling system. In these situations, heat storage materials help to absorb heat in the short term and release it in the long term.
Plastic foams play a central role in insulation materials. These materials are, however, coming under increasing pressure with regard to their lack of sustainability. Sustainable foams based on renewable raw materials for building insulation or as an essential element in lightweight structures are therefore a crucial factor in increasing resource efficiency.