Ford, Dow team up develop carbon fibre composites

Ford, Dow team up to develop carbon fibre composites

6:59 AM, 13th April 2012
Ford, Dow team up to develop carbon fibre composites
Ford GT car.

Ford and Dow engineers and researchers will combine efforts to develop low-cost carbon fibre and component-level manufacturing processes.

Weight reductions of up to 750 pounds on future Ford vehicles are key to meeting fuel economy and electric vehicle range targets.

DEARBORN, US: Cutting the weight of new cars and trucks by up to 750 pounds by end of the decade is a key component of Ford’s strategy to improve fuel efficiency. To achieve this, Ford Motor Company is partnering with Dow Automotive Systems, unit of Dow Chemical, to research use of advanced carbon fibre composites in high-volume vehicles.

Ford is investigating a range of new materials, enhanced design processes and new manufacturing techniques that would enable vehicle structures to meet strict safety and quality standards while cutting weight. “There are two ways to reduce energy use in vehicles: improving the conversion efficiency of fuels to motion and reducing amount of work that powertrains need to do. Ford is tackling conversion problem primarily through downsizing engines with EcoBoost and electrification while mass reduction and improved aerodynamics are keys to reducing workload,” said Paul Mascarenas, Chief Technical Officer and VP, Research, Ford.

“This partnership with Ford on carbon fibre composites is a logical next step to progress already achieved through the use of lightweight, high-strength polymers and structural bonding technology,” said Florian Schattenmann, Director-R&D, Dow Automotive Systems.

As carbon fibre composites materials have been too costly, the development teams will focus on establishing an economical source of automotive-grade carbon fibre and develop component manufacturing methods for high-volume automotive applications. The partnership will seek to combine the best of Ford’s capabilities in design, engineering and high-volume vehicle production with Dow Automotive’s strengths in R&D, materials science and high-volume polymer processing.

If the joint development effort is successful, carbon fibre components may begin appearing on new Ford vehicles in the latter part of this decade as product development teams work toward meeting new fuel efficiency standards of more than 50 mpg and extending the range of plug-in vehicles.

© WOC News

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