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Decreasing leakage and combustion risks of USB Type-C interfaces

The E&E market and consumers are ready for one USB cord and power plug for most electronic devices. Since a unified charger interface can help reduce e-waste, simplify wireless charging standards, and bring convenience to consumers, the European Union and some other government regulatory agencies are increasing the use of USB Type-C. It is a general-purpose interface with many advantages, but you may come across challenges depending on the material you utilize. Thankfully there is one tested material that offers a high interlayer bonding force, which can reduce failure risks.

The idea of a single charging cable that can charge all portable electronic devices is quickly becoming a reality. Since a unified charger interface can help reduce e-waste, simplify wireless charging standards, and bring convenience to consumers, the European Union and some other government regulatory agencies are increasing the use of USB Type-C.

The European Council approved that from 2024 on, all kinds of electronic devices, like mobile phones, tablets, and digital cameras sold in the EU must use the Type-C charging interface uniformly. Laptops are allowed a grace period of 40 months. 

 

A single charging cable decreases the number of cords, power plugs and electronic waste

The market is indeed ready for a single charging cable, and in fact, most smartphone manufacturers are already adopting the Type-C charging interface. Laptop manufacturers will complete the conversion of the interface before 2026.

The interface conversion is not limited to the charging interface—the interface on the power adapter is also gradually converting from USB Type-A to Type-C. This means that one charging cable can be used for all electronic devices, and there is no need to distinguish between the power plug end and the charging end. Plus, there is no need to buy multiple power plugs anymore, thus, a decrease in unnecessary waste.

USB Type-C stands out as a general-purpose interface with the following advantages:

  • The interface is small in shape, and there is no need to distinguish the front and back.
  • There are 24 groups of pins in the interface, which can recognize more protocols, perform higher power transmission, and realize more functions.
  • The power consumption of modern consumer electronic devices continues to increase with the development of more functions, and the popularization of fast charging functions. Type-C can handle the power demands of these modern devices.
  • The standard USB2.0 or USB3.0 protocol can support a charging power of up to 10W, while the USB Type-C connector that meets the USB PD 3.1 protocol (USB Power Delivery Specification Revision 3.1) can support a transmission power of up to 48V and 240W.

 

You may come across challenges when using LCP material for USB interfaces

Although the Type-C charging interface represents the main interface application of the future, it is not a risk-free solution. Liquid crystal polymers (LCP) have long been used to make USB interfaces. However, this material presents a risk of creepage when applied to electronic devices with thinner walls and smaller pitches.

Some common causes of material failure include:

  • Increased power consumption required by new fast-charging electrical devices.
  • After injection molding, the gaps between layers of plastic accumulate and may cause surface carbonization, resulting in higher current flow and higher risk of fire.
  • Damaged to or loose charging interface may cause arc fault.
  • The compact functional design of the USBC Type-C connector requires the use of small pin spacing, which increases risk of short circuit and potential fire.
  • Connector cables that do not comply with the Type-C standard can seriously damage the device and cause electrical failure.

 

There is a tested material with a high interlayer bonding force that can reduce failure risks

It is imperative you choose the best material for USB Type-C interfaces to decrease failure risks and potential fires. Envalior’s Stanyl® product line can provide excellent mechanical strength and extremely high interlayer bonding force, which can effectively reduce the occurrence of failure.

Our team tested the interlayer bonding properties of Stanyl® and competing materials. We injection-molded each test material into a test mold and used a custom-made fixture for tensile testing. Stanyl products exhibited a two-shot bonding strength much higher than that of LCP and PPA. We then performed cross-sectional observations of the plastic part using an optical microscope. As a result, the Stanyl® product showed smooth and good bonding, whereas competitive materials had clear cracks and crevices.

Helping you to accelerate the marketization of product

Our Stanyl® products have shortened the time required for certification, saving you time and money. In recent years, the electronic market has continued to grow, and the product iteration cycle has become shorter and shorter. Shortening the development cycle and manufacturing cycle and launching the product as soon as possible is what you want to achieve.

In this process, whether the product meets the safety certification standards is also an important link in the accelerated marketization of electronic products. Insecure or unreliable components risk delaying a product launch. With many years of experience in the global market and a team of experts, Envalior is familiar with various regulatory requirements, and can cooperate with manufacturers to shorten the design cycle and obtain certification as soon as possible. Currently, USB-C connectors made with Stanyl® have been certified in many countries and regions.

In addition, Envalior is also effective in promoting the reduction of carbon footprint. Stanyl® PA46 material has an approximately 32% lower carbon footprint than competing materials, while bio-based, mass-balanced Stanyl® B-MB has an approximately 54% lower carbon footprint than standard Stanyl®. Partnering with us not only represents high-quality and reliable products, but also represents the contribution of customers to sustainable development.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Hsieh

Advanced Engineering Manager

John Hsieh, advanced engineering manager for Envalior, has 20 years of product management and technical marketing experience within the entire electronics value chain. He has been with Envalior since August 2013 and has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Published on

21 November 2023

Tags

  • Blog
  • Electronics
  • Sustainability
  • Stanyl

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Meeting power demands of USB-C connectors while reducing risk of electrical arcing