Ford uses graphene to enhance durability, sound resistance and weight reduction
Ford has found a way to use small amounts of graphene in fuel rail covers, pump covers and front engine covers.
Ford Motor Company (Dearborn, MI, US) announced Oct. 9 the use of graphene – a two-dimensional nanomaterial – in vehicle parts.
Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel and one of the most conductive materials in the world. It is a good sound barrier and is extremely thin and flexible. The material is not economically viable for all applications, but Ford, in collaboration with Eagle Industries (Fenton, MO, US) and XG Sciences (Lansing, MI, US), has found a way to use small amounts in fuel rail covers, pump covers and front engine covers to maximize its benefits.
“The breakthrough here is not in the material, but in how we are using it,” says Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability and emerging materials. “We are able to use a very small amount, less than a half percent, to help us achieve significant enhancements in durability, sound resistance and weight reduction – applications that others have not focused on.”
The graphene is mixed with foam constituents, and tests done by Ford and suppliers has shown about a 17% reduction in noise, a 20% improvement in mechanical properties and a 30% improvement in heat endurance properties, compared with that of the foam used without graphene.
Graphene is expected to go into production by year end on over ten under hood components on the Ford F-150 and Mustang and eventually, other Ford vehicles.
Compared to legacy materials like steel, aluminum, iron and titanium, composites are still coming of age, and only just now are being better understood by design and manufacturing engineers. However, composites’ physical properties — combined with unbeatable light weight — make them undeniably attractive.
The structural properties of composite materials are derived primarily from the fiber reinforcement. Fiber types, their manufacture, their uses and the end-market applications in which they find most use are described.
Lightweight, hard and stable at high temperatures, CMCs are emerging from two decades of study and development into commercial applications.