LG Chem has worked with LX Hausys to develop a material that delays the thermal runaway of electric vehicle batteries to prevent deadly fires. Photo courtesy of LG Chem
SEOUL, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- South Korea's LG Chem said it has come up with a new battery cover material that can withstand a flame burning at 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 20 minutes.
The Seoul-based company said Friday the new thermoplastic, able to withstand flames and the ensuing pressure 14 times better than existing materials, was designed to retard thermal runaway.
LG Chem said the fire-resistant material was developed in conjunction with LX Hausys, a leading manufacturer of building and interior supplies.
As the main cause of battery fires in electric vehicles, thermal runaway can happen when heat inside a battery cell becomes a cause for various stress situations.
Lethal battery fires have been one of the major stumbling blocks preventing a more robust adoption of electric vehicle sales by the public.
The newly developed flame-retardant thermoplastic could better protect battery packs, delaying the spread of flames in the event of EV fires.
It could also afford the passengers time to evacuate and even suppress the fire, LG said.
Battery fires have been a financial drain on LG Chem and its affiliate LG Energy Solution, which have had to pay billions to automakers in recent years as they have been forced to recall electric vehicles equipped with faulty LG batteries.
"Since the announcement about a super flame barrier material last year, we have been working closely with LX Hausys. We are proud to offer a total solution for electric vehicle thermal runaway," LG Chem senior official Tom Shin said in a statement.
"We will continue research and development to make the daily lives of electric vehicle drivers safer while addressing customer pain points," he said.
The company didn't specify a timeline for commercializing the new material.