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Maximum comfort and maximum safety - more and more electronics are being packed into the vehicle for this purpose. This leads to a constantly increasing power density with significant thermal hazard potential. SCHURTER counters this danger with thermal fuses.
Thermal fuses are used for safe and one-time separation of circuits when a specified permissible operating temperature is exceeded. This prevents a possible fire even after years of reliable operation. Every application in which there may be excessive heat generation offers the potential for a thermal fuse.
Changing consumer trends in the automotive industry
Only 20 years ago, automobiles were usually very spartanly equipped. Today it is completely different. Modern automobiles offer an enormous amount of electronic helpers and highest comfort. Take the seat as an example: it has integrated airbags, can be electrically heated during wintertime, offers a storage option for various seat settings and possibly even a massage function.
High power density
The power density in the car is increasing visibly. Moore's law states that the complexity of integrated semiconductors doubles approximately every two years. This law can also be applied to power semiconductors. It is therefore foreseeable that the power density will continue to increase.
The higher the power drawn from the 12-Volt vehicle electrical system, the higher the currents, of course. The 12-Volt vehicle electrical system is already reaching its limits in vehicles with a particularly large number of loads, or must be supplemented by a second vehicle electrical system (48 Volt). High currents lead - among other things - to high losses. These losses occur as heat, and this heat is the worst enemy of automotive electronics during its life cycle. It leads to accelerated ageing of components. This gradual death of the components is not noticed in normal operation until the first components are operated outside their temperature specifications. In addition, high currents favour the case of thermal runaway.
Thermal runaway is the term used to describe the overheating of technical equipment due to a self-reinforcing, heat-producing process. This damage usually destroys the equipment and often leads to fire or explosion. This is usually caused by power semiconductors.
Absolute reliability is essential in the automotive sector. A thermal fuse must function for many years. It must perform its duties as willingly in the coldest winter as it does in breeding heat. Shocks, vibrations? Everyday life. Switch on, switch off - cyclical stability is indispensable. The thermal, electrical and mechanical requirements for such fuses are enormous. They must perform their duties reliably under all conditions.
SCHURTER offers a whole range of fuses for the automotive industry according to AEC-Q200 for various applications (battery management, climate control, engine-near electronics for diesel and petrol engines and many more). The close networking with international automotive organizations and the industry itself make SCHURTER a competent partner for all questions concerning the protection of electronics in automotive engineering.
Learn more about Thermal Runaway by downloading the Application Note below.