Electromagnetic interference and electrostatic build-up can both result in costly disruption, damage and even failure in the electronic devices that we use and rely upon every day.
CarbonX makes a case for EMI shielding and ESD applications
Our data shows that for EMI shielding and ESD applications, the use of CarbonX as a polymer filler can fulfil conductivity needs while offering a stronger, more lightweight, and more sustainable alternative to the competition.
Beyond Carbon Black
In cases where conductivity is needed, carbon black has often been the go-to option.
Unfortunately, compounds with carbon black become exceedingly viscous and their impact resistance is compromised, so there are limits to how much conductivity can be achieved before the compound becomes impossible to process.
Dispersion is Key
Because CarbonX is isotropic, it has optimal dispersibility. This leads to very homogenous compounds that provides the maximum desired conductivity, reinforcement, light weight and impact resistance required by applications where physical and electrical safety are paramount.
The combination of these features can also result in greater sustainability in the use phase and in the production phase, with benefits including resource optimisation, energy/fuel efficiency, and, ultimately, a reduction of CO2 emissions.
These features are particularly applicable for electric vehicles, where the goal is not only to provide adequate EMI shielding around the EV battery and other under-the-hood components, but also ensure greater impact resistance and reduce the overall weight of the casings.
Case 1: CarbonX for EV Battery Casings
Using a more lightweight EMI shielding case can reduce the overall weight of an electric vehicle, which improves rolling resistance and increases its battery range. This makes the vehicle more energy efficient and enable it to travel greater distances on a single charge, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.
Our results confirmed that when CarbonX is used as a polymer filler on its own, 60dB EMI shielding could be achieved, and greater EMI shielding effectiveness was observed when CarbonX was combined with other fillers.
Case 2: CarbonX for ESD Crates
Glass fibres offer cost-effective reinforcement, but they are not conductive. So they don’t work for applications which need ESD, such as crates used to transport electronics or other flammable substances. When these products are transported, friction can cause electrical discharges and fires, leading to product losses worth thousands.
CarbonX has shown a synergistic effect when it comes to electrostatic dissipation (ESD) applications. Glass fibres can be (partially) replaced by CarbonX, and we tested the mechanical properties and the conductivity of polyamide 6 (PA6) reinforced with only glass fibres against PA6 reinforced with both glass fibres and CarbonX (X7).
As shown in the graphs above, the results show a significant synergistic effect in terms of strength and conductivity. The addition of CarbonX was shown to double the stiffness and to withstand the same amount of stress as glass fibres, while decreasing the volume resistivity down to ESD range.
This means that crates reinforced with both glass fibres and CarbonX would easily dissipate any electrical discharges generated within, making transport safer and eliminating the risk of product losses.
Recent tests have also shown that PA6 with CarbonX can retain its properties after being recycled at least three times.
Read the full article, “Innovative options to tackle static and ESD” in the February 2021 issue of Compounding World.