Multifunctional FRP-Aluminum Foam Production Setup for Battery Housings of Electric Vehicles

  • Rico Schmerler Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU
  • Tobias Gebken Volkswagen AG
  • Markus Kühn Volkswagen AG
  • Welf-Guntram Drossel Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU
  • Klaus Dröder Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • Carsten Lies Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU

Abstract

The battery systems of electrified vehicles are characterized by increasing weight due to larger battery modules. A lightweight battery carrier structure can reduce the system weight by replacing heavy metallic housing components with materials such as fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) and aluminum. The battery housing must meet several requirements, e.g. stiffness, crash and intrusion protection and thermal management.

Today’s battery housings are manufactured using die-cast or extrusion parts and are actively cooled. A novel approach is a lightweight hybrid battery housing consisting of a thermoformed FRP as a stiff outer shell and an integrated closed-cell aluminum foam infiltrated with phase change material (PCM) for passive thermal management. This multi-material structure enables the substitution of functionally separated systems in one intelligent solution.

In the Open Hybrid LabFactory an entire process chain was established, including the aluminum foaming process, the thermoforming of FRP with heating and consolidating as well as the integrated forming and joining process of FRP with aluminum foam.

With the goal of application-oriented research, a battery housing of an existing electric car was used to define requirements such as design space and mechanical specifications. Based on parameter studies an optimized process design was achieved, which is described in this paper.

Author Biography

Rico Schmerler, Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU

Abteilung Funktionsintegrierter Leichtbau

Published
2020-12-21