Riding the waves with electric surfboards

Covestro: polycarbonate materials for electromobility


PC+ABS blend makes batteries safe, durable and waterproof

Electromobility is on the rise around the world. With a wide range of flame-retardant PC + ABS blends, Covestro provides optimal materials for this field of application; for instance, for the production of injection-molded battery casings. Thiscan be seen not only in current electric car projects, which is a widely-discussed topic at the moment, but also in exciting leisure products, such as Onean electric surfboards from the Bilbao-based Aquilaboards. The exchangeable batteries for this surfboard are equipped with impact-resistant, durable and flame-retardant casings made of Bayblend® FR3010.

“A new sport is coming” – this is the slogan used by Aquilaboards, a spin-off of the Spanish company Bizintek specialized in engineering and product design. The manufacturer of electric surf boards from the Basque region currently offers three products in its catalog, which are expected to develop a new environmentally-friendly sport: the Carver, a motorized surfboard with a power of 5kW; the Carver X for heavier people – or those who want to reach a higher speed – with a power of 10 kW; and the Manta, a model suitable for everybody that comes with a 750 W jet engine that enables longer excursions. Depending on the board, riders can cruise over the waves at maximum speeds of between 10 and around 45 km/h, depending on the model.

Powerful jet propulsion

All three models have a powerful jet drive, which was designed by an interdisciplinary Aquilaboards team in Bilbao, a UNESCO “City of Design” with a growing surfer culture. The boards also come with a plug & play battery, which can be easily replaced from the body of the board after a charging time of just 2.5 hours. The Carver X, with its higher performance capacity, works with two of them. The battery casings are all made of Bayblend® FR3010, a high-performance PC+ABS blend from Covestro.

“The plastic material impresses with its balanced property profile, which is a perfect fit for this application,” says Miguel Angel Montero Diaz, Director of Polycarbonates at Covestro Iberia. “Among other things, it combines high heat resistance with excellent mechanical parameters, good flame-retardant properties and outstanding chemical resistance.”

At first glance, the battery requirements for Onean jetboards hardly differ from those for e-bikes or electric off-road motorbikes: when in use, they are exposed to the wind and weather, heat up during charging and discharging and can fall to the ground. The battery must never be damaged, of course. This is where Bayblend® FR3010 comes into play: the unreinforced injection mold type features improved heat resistance (Vicat/B 120 = 110°C), phenomenal impact resistance and outstanding stress cracking behavior.

Dimensionally stable and flame retardant

The dimensional stability of the surfboards has also proven to be excellent, since the batteries must always fit perfectly into the sockets: gaps can never open up that will allow moisture into the battery, particularly for applications in water. And of course here, like everywhere else where electricity is involved, it is important to consider flame retardance: at a wall thickness of 1.5 millimeters, Bayblend® FR3010 achieves the category UL 94 V-0 in the flame retardance test of the Underwriters Laboratories, and Class V-1 at 1.2 millimeters. The blend’s high resistance to chemicals is another advantage; for example, in contact with sunscreen and insect repellents.

For a product that is used outdoors in natural environments, there is another, not completely unimportant aspect: the flame retardant systems in Bayblend® FR3010 are compatible with the requirements of various environmental seals of approval, such as the “Blue Angel” (Germany) or the TCO label, which identifies materials that are designed for recycling.

“Bayblend® FR3010 is an excellent example of the expertise that Covestro was able to accumulate over the years in casing high-performance rechargeable batteries with polycarbonate materials,” says Miguel Angel Montero Diaz. “Thus, in this application as well, Covestro has cemented its reputation as a highly competent provider of specialty materials for electromobility, which can comply with an entire series of complex requirements in a wide temperature range, also in small series applications.”

About Covestro:

With 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,800 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2018.

Find more information at www.covestro.com.
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Forward-looking statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.