By Dr. Cameron Chai
Dow automotive Systems has announced its partnership with Ford Motor in order to study the applications of advanced carbon fiber composites in large-sized vehicles.
Ford’s Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Research and Innovation, Paul Mascarenas stated that two ways to decrease the use of energy in vehicles are enhancing the fuels’ conversion efficiency to motion and decreasing the work done by powertrains. The conversion issue is being handled by Ford mainly by downsizing engines with electrification and EcoBoost, wherein reduction of mass and enhanced aerodynamics play a key role in decreasing the workload, he added.
Ford is exploring improved design processes, a variety of new materials, and new manufacturing methods, which may enable automotive structures to satisfy the strict quality and safety standards.
Because of the excellent combination of low mass and high-strength, carbon fiber composites are being utilized in racing cars and aerospace for decades and are too expensive for high-volume mainstream applications.
A joint development contract has been inked by Ford and Dow Automotive Systems and will collaborate the researchers from both the companies in many fronts. The focus of the development teams will be to form automotive-grade carbon fiber and create component manufacturing processes for use in high-volume automotive applications.
This collaboration will look forward to integrate Ford’s design experience and potentials, high-volume polymer processing and materials science, engineering and high-volume vehicle manufacturing together with Dow Automotive's strengths in research and development.
The joint effort will support the work that has been commenced by Dow Chemical through collaboration with AKSA, a Turkish carbon fiber producer and the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory.