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“Miracle” material for vehicle parts

ScientistIn a recent article, Ford Motor Company has found a way to use Graphene in vehicle parts, a material which is 200 times stronger than steel and one of the most conductive materials in the world according to some engineers.

Graphene is a material used in coating, cell phones and even some sporting goods and soon, will be used under the hood in Ford vehicles.

In vehicles, graphene, which is lightweight and strong, will act like a pair of super-powered, noise cancelling headphones, reducing sound inside the cabin.

Graphene has recently generated the enthusiasm and excitement in the automotive industry for paint, polymer and battery applications. Although graphene is not economically viable for all applications, 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 maximise its benefits.

“The breakthrough here is not in the material, but in how we are using it,” said 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.”

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 four years ago. Generally, attempting to reduce noise inside vehicle cabins means adding more material and weight, but with graphene, it’s the opposite.

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

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.

“We are excited about the performance benefits our products are able to provide to Ford and Eagle Industries,” said Philip Rose, XG Sciences’ chief executive officer. “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 the end of the year on over ten under hood components on the Ford F-150 and Mustang and eventually, other Ford vehicles.

An interesting use of a new material but what happens when it becomes an ELV? According to 2dmsolutions : ‘Graphene can replace carbon fiber, steel, and aluminum components.’ If this is the case what will be the scrap value of Graphene? Will it be of similar value to those materials listed above? Let us know your views on this topic at info@atfpro.co.uk

There is a GRAPHENE AUTOMOTIVE 2019 Exhibition and Conference where graphene researchers and automotive manufacturers will meet to explore new graphene-based solutions for use in automotive applications. This event will take place on the 4th-5th March, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan USA. Click on the link to find out more 

Sources: media.ford.com 

2dmsolutions.com

graphene-automotive-conference.com

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