Industry News

Ford Vehicles to Feature First-ever Graphene-reinforced Under-the-hood Components

Published on 2018-10-11. Author : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Automotive     Nanotechnologies     Metal Replacement    

It’s in cell phones and even some sporting goods – and soon, for the first time in automotive, it will be under the hood in Ford vehicles. Ford Motor Company has announced the use of graphene – a two-dimensional nanomaterial – in vehicle parts, timely with National Nanotechnology Day.

Ford Innovates with Graphene
Ford Innovates with Graphene

Graphene has recently generated the enthusiasm and excitement in the automotive industry for paint, polymer and battery applications.

First in Automotive

Dubbed a “miracle material” by some engineers, graphene is 200 times stronger than steel and one of the most conductive materials in the world. It is a great sound barrier and is extremely thin and flexible. Graphene is not economically viable for all applications, but Ford, in collaboration with Eagle Industries and XG Sciences, has found a way to use small amounts in fuel rail covers, pump covers and front engine covers to maximize its benefits.

Small Amount Enables Significant Enhancements

Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability and emerging materials, said:
“The breakthrough here is not in the material, but in how we are using it. 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.”

Application Innovation

Graphene was first isolated in 2004, but application breakthroughs are relatively new. The first experiment to isolate graphene was done by using pencil lead, which contains graphite, and a piece of tape, using the tape to pull off layers of graphite to create a material that is a single layer thick – graphene. This experiment won a Nobel Prize in 2010.

Implementing Graphene by Ford

In 2014, Ford began working with suppliers to study the material and how to use it in running trials with auto parts such as fuel rail covers, pump covers and front engine covers. Generally, attempting to reduce noise inside vehicle cabins means adding more material and weight, but with graphene, it’s the opposite.

John Bull, president of Eagle Industries, said:
“A small amount of graphene goes a long way, and in this case, it has a significant effect on sound absorption qualities.”

The graphene is mixed with foam constituents, and tests done by Ford and suppliers has shown about a 17 percent reduction in noise, a 20 percent improvement in mechanical properties and a 30 percent improvement in heat endurance properties, compared with that of the foam used without graphene.

Philip Rose, XG Sciences’ chief executive officer, said:
“We are excited about the performance benefits our products are able to provide to Ford and Eagle Industries. Working with early adopters such as Ford Motor Company demonstrates the potential for graphene in multiple applications, and we look forward to extending our collaboration into other materials, and enabling further performance improvements.”

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.

Source: XG Sciences, Inc.
5th SpecialChem Annual Japan Conference - Digital Transformation in the Chemical Industry
Back to Top