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Ford F-150, Mustang To Feature First Under-Hood Uses Of Graphene

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Ford Motor Company has found a new use for graphene – a relatively new nanomaterial that’s 200 times stronger than steel – under the hoods of passenger vehicles like the Ford F-150 pickup and Ford Mustang pony car. Working together with Eagle Industries and XG Sciences, has come up with a method for deploying the stuff in more than ten underhood components, including fuel rail covers, pump covers, and front engine covers. The graphene, which is remarkably thin and flexible, with very strong sound-barrier properties, will be mixed with foam constituents to produce parts that punch well above their weight with regard to strength and noise reduction.

“A small amount of graphene goes a long way,” says Eagle Industries President John Bull. “In this case, it has a significant effect on sound absorption qualities.”

Graphene composite being subjected to nearly 1,600-psi of pressure.

Graphene composite being subjected to nearly 1,600-psi of pressure.

Testing 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 for Ford’s graphene-containing foam, vs. the same foam material without any graphene content. And importantly, all of this comes without any weight penalty.

“The breakthrough here is not in the material, but in how we are using it,” says Ford Senior Technical Leader of Sustainability and Emerging Materials Debbie Mielewski. “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.”

Ford says that its new graphene material will start production on underhood components for the Ford F-150 and Ford Mustang by the year’s end, before spreading to additional models in the automaker’s passenger vehicle lineup.

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Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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Comments

  1. Raymond Ramirez

    Ford should use the same material in the cabin, too, and gain the same benefits. A satisfied owner will not complain over the price increase.

    Reply
    1. Mark Smyth

      Graphene is insanely expensive. It costs about $200 per gram. That means that one pound of graphene will cost way too much as there are 454 grams per pound. Foam parts are extremely light, so you cannot make solid plastic parts by adding graphene unless it’s in a high end race car such as Formula One or Indycars. Cost is not a huge deal for those racecars.

      Reply
      1. Francis Dube

        Hi Mark, a few points to consider: First, the amount of graphene used is quoted as less than 0.5%. Our company is in the graphene space and in cement, we only use 0.02% to have a significant improvement in performance so the number could be significantly less than 0.5%. Second, the price of graphene although still high, is coming down and needs to come down to support a new industrial revolution. I think graphene is near a tiping point where you will see it get wide spread adaptation across multiple industries. It is certainly exciting being in this industry at this time.

        Reply

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