Thursday, December 6, 2012

Carbon-fiber technology could deliver more fuel-efficient vehicles

A carbon fiber-reinforced plastic bonnet featured on the Ford Focus at the Composites Europe event in Dusseldorf, Germany, was developed by engineers at the Ford European Research Centre, Aachen, Germany. The prototype bonnet is about 50% lighter than a standard steel version.
The production time for an individual carbon-fiber bonnet is fast enough to be used on a production line—a significant step toward increased use of lightweight materials in Ford vehicles.

The involvement of Ford European Research Centre in the Hightech.NRW research project follows Ford’s partnership with Dow Automotive Systems, Auburn Hills, Mich., a collaboration that will investigate new materials, design processes, and manufacturing techniques. Dow Automotive Systems and Ford will focus on establishing an economical source of automotive-grade carbon fiber, as well as high-volume manufacturing methods: both critical to increasing the range of future Ford battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Objectives of the Hightech.NRW research project include developing a cost effective method to manufacture carbon-fiber composites for body panel applications that can be incorporated into existing vehicle production processes, significantly reducing individual component production times, reducing the amount of finishing work required to acceptable standards, meeting requirements for painting, and at least a 50% reduction in component weight. Source :
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