Plastics for thermal management

The eternal balancing act between too hot or too cold

Karl-Heinz Karius

Efficient thermal management

Control of heat flows according to requirements.

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.

(Plastics) expertise from material to design

  • We are supporting you in selecting materials and processes for your specific application
  • We characterize and evaluate (your) materials according to common and requirement-specific methods, e.g., thermal conductivity, rheology, mechanics, service life.
  • We investigate and evaluate the interaction between highly filled polymer melts and metallic tool surfaces with respect to wear and deposit formation.
  • Where existing thermally conductive plastics reach their limits, we develop optimized and customized formulations (thermoplastics, duromers and elastomers) according to your requirement profile.
  • We offer you the right process development solution for the preparation (up to 100 kg/h) and processing of highly filled thermoplastic compounds.
  • We develop form-stable phase change materials (FSPCM) for heat storage purposes.
  • We will find the right solution for your flame protection requirements, for example by developing flame-retardant insulation materials based on renewable raw materials.
  • We assist you in developing components with high functional integration through holistic approaches, for example when designing heat-conducting and heat-storing battery housings. In doing so, we optimally coordinate design, material and manufacturing processes, for example:
    • by taking process-dependent material properties into account in the component;
    • by selecting and developing application-specific experimental and simulative methods, e.g., for modeling the mechanical behavior and with respect to service life;
    • through hybrid construction methods, e.g., in thermoplastic sandwich composites.
  • When considering the overall system, we draw on a strong and established network of partners who are suited to your specific challenge.

Let us get you to your comfortable temperature

With us, you have a central contact person who identifies the ideal solution to your problem and coordinates the lines of communication between various specialist disciplines and potential partners. Your contact person will use our holistic and manufacturer-independent evaluation methods to match up materials and processes, thereby achieving the best possible design. Together with our strategic partners, we will find a cost-effective solution even for complex issues.