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I am designing a battery box to house lithium ion batteries in an electric vehicle. These batteries use an electrolyte which probably contains carbonate esters (eg. ethylene carbonate, dimethyl carbonate, diethyl carbonate).

If I use polycarbonate as the battery box material, should I be worried about an interaction with the electrolyte in the event of a battery leak?

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Yes, you need to verify that the housing of the battery is made of a material that is unaffected by its contents. Polycarbonate is a good material for rigidity and transparency, but may be dissolved or weakened over time by organic solvents (carbonate esters or otherwise) and also by pH extremes and high temperatures that could come into play when the battery is charged and discharged. Thermosetting resins might be a better bet for this type of application.

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  • $\begingroup$ thanks for the info on the potential reaction with organic solvents. not sure if I made this clear, but the polycarbonate would be forming the battery box that encloses all of the individual cells. each cell has its own casing, which completely encloses the electrolyte and other internal components of the battery. still, if the cell casings were to rupture, the electrolyte would contact the polycarbonate directly. so I suppose it makes little difference. $\endgroup$ – David Schwartz Apr 30 '15 at 7:08

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