Why does Electric Vehicle Thermal Runaway Matter?

EV Battery Thermal Runaway reactions can escalate quickly, leaving little time for vehicle occupants to egress to safety. Small actions, battery ruptures, or moderate unmanaged battery heat can lead to massive consequences without appropriate lithium-ion fire protection and fire suppression in place. Thermal runaway rapidly increases the volatility of the lithium-ion electrolyte within the vehicle, easily spreading noxious smoke and fire or cause explosions. Vehicle manufacturers proactively design safety features in the unlikely scenario of a catastrophic battery event for drivers and passengers to have enough time to safely exit their vehicle. Various systems, materials, and technologies are deployed to prevent and mitigate thermal runaway conditions or reactions.

3D Render of electric vehicle with transparent cabin in order to see internal EV battery and system

What Is EV Thermal Runaway?

Electric Vehicle Thermal Runaway occurs when the temperature of lithium-ion EV battery electrolyte solution increases to where it uncontrollably accelerates its internal chemical reaction. Lithium-water reactions generate flammable hydrogen gas and corrosive lithium hydroxide gas, which can irritate skin and lungs.

Preventing Thermal Runaway with Thermal Management

EV battery cooling systems protect against thermal runaway by dissipating excess heat more quickly than it can accumulate. These cooling systems also mitigate the effects of high ambient or environmental temperatures that elevate the risk and effect of thermal runaway. By keeping electric vehicle batteries in their optimum temperature range, cooling technologies prevent EV thermal runaway and overheating.

Learn more about EV battery cooling solutions.

Top Three Causes of Thermal Runaway and How to Prevent Them

Rotating 3D rendering of Multilayer thermal runaway protection

Preventing Thermal Runaway with Engineered Materials

Electric vehicle architects must include technologies and materials as safety features to prevent or mitigate thermal runaway spread and fire once a thermal runaway chemical reaction starts. High force impact, extreme vibration or pressure, and expansion and contraction temperature cycles create mechanical movement within battery cells that can start or propagate thermal runaway. EV battery protecting compression pads support pouch cells during expansion and contraction in charge-discharge cycles as well as protect and cushion from sudden mechanical movement to improve Li-ion cell safety. Integrating fire suppressing, electrically insulating flame barrier materials creates fire isolation within the battery. Localizing and containing a thermal runaway catastrophic fire at the Li-ion battery cell, module, or pack level increases consumer safety.

Our specialized SOLIMIDE® Foams offer flexible, lightweight, fire resistance. SOLIMIDE® Foams do not burn, emit little smoke, and exceed FAR 25.856 fire resistance specifications. With long lifetimes, SOLIMIDE® Foam thermal runaway technologies are ideal to improve battery safety and performance without adding bulk or weight.

Why Use Boyd to Prevent Thermal Runaway?

Boyd’s expertise in designing and manufacturing solutions with a broad range of technologies helps us approach problem solving with a holistic view. We help OEMs proactively manage battery heat to prevent thermal runaway and integrate safety technologies to proactively respond to catastrophic thermal runaway events using lithium-ion battery fire protection solutions.

SOLIMIDE® Foam vs. Other Open Cell Foam: Fire Resistance Test

Exploded 3D render of an electric vehicle battery pack, including gaskets, liquid cold plates, and other material solutions.

Still not convinced to use Boyd for your Electric Vehicle Thermal Runaway Solution?

Boyd’s thermal management and precision converting expertise enable us to support you in developing thermal runaway protection and optimizing the rest of your EV battery pack design. Optimize our wide variety of gasketing, sealing, and adhesive solutions for ideal compression set, force deflection, and other mechanical factors to ruggedly waterproof battery packs. Boyd's gasket solutions also manage shock and vibration, minimizing battery pack seal degradation from tough road conditions and excessive wear and tear to ensure batteries stay sealed over the battery pack lifetime.

Boyd Electric Vehicle Thermal Runaway Solutions

Have questions? We're ready to help!