Liquid silicone rubber (LSR) is a go-to material for many components in electric vehicles (EVs). The material is particularly well-suited for the automotive industry thanks to its impressive strength, resilience, and high performance in extreme temperatures. Though LSR has been used in vehicles for years, with the rise of autonomous mobility and electric cars and trucks, its popularity is growing rapidly.
We are breaking down everything you need to know about using LSR components in EVs and the extensive benefits of working with this material for mobility applications.
How Is LSR Used in the Automotive Industry?
The automotive industry continuously evolves to meet new quality standards and enhance performance. LSR’s unique qualities make it a go-to material for a wide variety of vehicle components, including seals, gaskets, diaphragms and hoses.
Liquid silicone rubber is highly durable and can withstand an impressive range of temperatures without losing its structural integrity. It provides incredible resistance to chemicals and oxidation. This material is also extremely lightweight and flexible, making it desirable for many different manufacturing applications.
As time goes on, more auto companies are turning to LSR for its vast range of benefits and uses.
Benefits of Using LSR in the Automotive Industry
There are many advantages and reasons why automotive companies utilize LSR components for their vehicles. The following are some key benefits of working with this material:
- Versatility: Manufacturers can utilize LSR for a wide range of vehicle components that meet strict quality standards.
- Enhanced performance: LSR is lightweight and long-lasting, which helps contribute to better overall performance with better seals and connections.
- High detail and tolerance: When making seals and gaskets, you need to ensure they won’t leak. By using LSR, you can hit those fine details and make a good conforming part.
- Increased durability: A huge advantage of working with LSR is its incredible durability and resistance to outside elements like extreme heat, extreme cold, and harsh chemicals.
- Boosted safety: Automobiles with high-quality, highly durable parts are safer, and LSR provides superior performance.
Growing Uses of LSR for Electric Vehicles
Experts project that the global LSR market will have a compound annual growth rate of 8.5% between 2022 and 2023. This growth can be attributed to industries like health care and automotive that are constantly finding new uses for the material.
As the electric vehicle market continues to grow and gain popularity, the auto industry is driving demand for more LSR components. Electric car manufacturers rely heavily on LSR components for various applications and systems today, including:
- Thermal management
- Vibration damping
- Environmental resistance
- Molded components
- Sealing and gaskets
- Electrical insulation
What Are the Uses of LSR in Electric Vehicles?
With so many great benefits of LSR for EVs, it is no surprise that the industry is diversifying the purposes of this material. Explore the various uses of liquid silicone rubber for electric vehicles below:
LSR can play a major role in thermal management for electric vehicles. An electric car’s battery, power electronic systems, and electric motor produce heat during operation. LSR works in a broad range of operating temperatures, but its ability to withstand temperature changes makes it a leading material for these EV systems and components.
2. Battery Performance
LSR components can also support better battery performance in a couple of ways. First, LSR can be useful in encapsulating EV batteries to provide a protective barrier from outside factors like moisture and chemical exposure.
LSR is also helpful in insulating the bond between individual battery cells and helps the battery pack maintain structural integrity.
3. Vibration Dampening
Combined with the excellent thermal properties of LSR, it’s also effective as a vibration dampener in electric vehicles. Engines and other components of electric vehicles produce vibrations, but using LSR can lessen the transmission of those vibrations to other parts of the vehicle. This ensures smooth operation and stability.
A huge advantage of working with LSR is the material’s impressive sealing properties. LSR seals, gaskets, and casings create water-tight barriers that can effectively keep moisture away from sensitive components, like the EV’s battery system. Effective sealing helps promote better battery performance and safety.
Trends of LSR for Electric Vehicles
Check out some of the key trends of LSR for electric vehicles today:
- Weight reduction: The auto industry is constantly finding new and innovative ways to improve EV performance by using lighter-weight components that allow for greater range and energy efficiency.
- Sustainability: Environmental considerations are at the forefront of electric vehicle production. Finding durable, long-lasting materials like LSR that rely less on petroleum resources in their production pose less of a burden on the environment compared to many other polymers that are derived from petroleum thereby reducing the industry’s carbon footprint and meeting sustainability goals.
- Increased production: As the demand for electric vehicles continues growing, companies in this industry are increasing production to meet demand. Companies that produce LSR parts must supercharge their operations to meet the rising needs of the EV industry.
Overall, the electric vehicle industry aims to continue optimizing its cars with more flexible and high-performing LSR components than ever before.
What Automotive Products Can Be Made of LSR?
Many diverse automotive products can be made of LSR for various applications. Some of the most common LSR components include the following:
- Ring, single-wire, and mat seals
- Inner grommets
- Wiring harnesses
- Sealed electric connectors
- Sensor and electronic connector housings
Automotive Liquid Injection Molding Applications
The following are key applications for liquid injection molding (LIM) and LSR in the automotive industry:
- Connector seals: LIM seals are used in wire harnesses throughout the vehicle, including LSR single wire seals, grommets, and LSR 2-shot sealed connectors.
- Comfort and driving assistance: LIM is well suited for producing high volume LSR parts like covers and seals for proximity sensors, key fob membranes, and noise and moisture resistant dampeners in the climate control systems.
- Engine and powertrain components: Power-related parts such as spark plug boots, power-frame sealing, gaskets, and ignition components can benefit from LSR’s high heat and chemical resistance and the LIM injection molding process.
- Sealing solutions: LIM is used to produce intricate LSR seals for electrical and high-speed data connectors.
- Lighting: Lighting components, such as LED diffusers and headlight gaskets and seals utilize LSR liquid injection molded parts.
Get Custom LSR Components From SIMTEC Silicone Parts
At SIMTEC, we provide custom LSR solutions to meet your project’s exact needs and the automotive industry’s strict requirements. We specialize in automated, high-volume production of LSR automotive parts, ranging from seals to sensors to specialty gaskets and diaphragms. Our ISO 9001, and IATF 16949 certified quality standards and our own quality standards, ensure we will provide your manufacturing operation with single-shot, two-shot, and multi-shot LSR injection molded components that meet your requirements. Tier 1 and Tier 2 auto suppliers rely on us for our innovation and 20+ years of liquid injection molding expertise.
When you are ready to get started, contact SIMTEC for more information about how we can produce custom LSR solutions.