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Ford Successfully Uses Graphene To Protect & Quiet Engine Parts

October 19th, 2018

A Ford engineer tests strength of material produced with graphene on a hydraulic press

We imagine a good number of West Michigan Ford Performance fans know what carbon fiber is, or at the very least what it looks like. It’s commonly found as a trim option in Ford vehicles with sport packages because of its widespread use in motorsports. Though purely aesthetic in this case, carbon technology has seen widespread use in aerospace, performance racing, and more recently in consumer goods because of its ultra light weight and incredible durability.

The ‘carbon’ in carbon fiber is simply graphite (the same stuff that’s in pencil lead,) which is just trillions of sheets of carbon atoms stacked on top of each other. A single, one-atom-thick sheet of perfectly-arranged carbon atoms is called graphene, and it’s been one of the holy grails of nanomaterial since it was first isolated in 2004. Though the potential applications are immeasurable, it hasn’t seen many practical applications because it’s difficult and expensive to produce. Recently this has begun to change.

Ford has recently managed to overcome those hurdles. With the help of Eagle Industries and XG Sciences, Ford found a way to introduce graphene into various coatings and foams used under the hood of Ford vehicles, boosting their strength and heat dissipation. Long story short, it was a rousing success and soon West Michigan Ford drivers will enjoy quieter vehicles with better-protected engine components. It is expected to go into production this year and will be included in the New Ford F-150 and Ford Mustang with more vehicles to follow.

An article on the Official Ford Media Center tells more about how it was developed – check out some excerpts below!

Cell Phones, Sporting Goods, And Soon, Cars: Ford Innovates With “Miracle” Material, Powerful Graphene For Vehicle Parts

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 is announcing the use of graphene – a two-dimensional nanomaterial – in vehicle parts.

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.

“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.”

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.

Keep reading on Media.Ford.com.

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