How venting solutions help extend the lifetime of electronic components in cars

May 08, 2014 // By Robert Chamberlain, W. L. Gore & Associates
Electronic components are playing a vital role in today’s vehicles. It is therefore all the more important that sensitive electronics function reliably despite the extreme temperature differences and rough environmental conditions they have to withstand during a drive. The most effective solution is a membrane that protects electronic housings against contamination and fluids and provides air exchange and pressure equalization at the same time.

Electronic components are playing a vital role in today's vehicles. It is therefore all the more important that sensitive electronics function reliably despite the extreme temperature differences and rough environmental conditions they have to withstand during a drive. The most effective solution is a membrane that protects electronic housings against contamination and fluids and provides air exchange and pressure equalization at the same time.

All electronic components – whether part of compressors, pumps, motors, control units or sensors for increasingly popular active security systems – are subjected to huge temperature fluctuations throughout their service life. These can arise when the component’s housing heats up in operation and then comes into contact with cold spray from the road or at the carwash. These fluctuations in temperature can cause a significant vacuum to develop inside the electronics housing. The resulting pressure differential can be so strong that the seals and sealing components protecting the sensitive electronics can be seriously compromised, letting in dirt particles and liquids that can corrode the component and shorten its service life. Damaged or defective components usually have to be replaced, leading to high warranty and repair costs for automakers and their suppliers.

Electronic parts facing higher challenges in electric and hybrid vehicles

One major challenge facing the automotive industry is the thermal management of high-performance electronics and batteries in electric vehicles, since these components need to operate in a certain temperature range in order to achieve optimum performance. They get very hot when running and need to be cooled using fluids. This can cause such huge temperature differentials within the electronic unit itself that condensate can form at the coldest point in the housing, which can lead to corrosion or cause a short circuit. For large battery housings, this problem can be so extensive that it is difficult to solve without effective measures to equalize temperature and pressure. Given the housing’s size, even minor temperature differentials can

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