Ford Accelerates Carbon Fiber Research

The company is partnering with DowAksa to develop high-volume carbon fiber part manufacturing methods.

Ford and DowAksa have created a partnership to research and develop high-volume manufacturing techniques for automotive-grade carbon fiber. The goal of this collaboration, according to the company, is to make vehicles lighter for greater fuel efficiency, performance and capability.

Both companies began working in 2012 to develop carbon fiber composites. They will be part of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, which is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. In addition to creating carbon fiber composites, the collaboration is looking to reduce the energy required to produce them.

Ford has already used carbon fiber in several lightweighting initiatives. These automobiles include the Lightweight Concept Fusion, the 2015 Ford F-150 and the recently revealed Ford GT.

In the Ford GT, the passenger cell is made of all carbon fiber and it is mounted to aluminum subframes, according to MotorAuthority. It also has a EcoBoost V-6 engine for more than 600 horsepower.

Ford GT The Ford GT incorporates carbon fiber and lightweight materials throughout its design. Image courtesy of Ford.

“This opportunity builds upon Ford’s current joint development agreement with Dow Chemical and accelerates our time line to introduce carbon fiber composites into high-volume applications,” said Jim deVries, global manager, Materials and Manufacturing Research, Ford. “This collaboration helps us accelerate our efforts to create lighter automotive-grade composite materials that benefit customers by enabling improved fuel economy without sacrificing strength.”

For more information, visit Ford and DowAksa.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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