Ford Puts Graphene to Work on New Models

October 10, 2018 at 12:09 PM

Ford Motor Co. will begin using small amounts of graphene in upcoming vehicles to improve strength and other performance characteristics.

The first applications will appear later this year in several engine compartment components in the F-150 fullsize pickup truck and Mustang pony car. Other Ford models will begin using graphene later.

Hailed as a “miracle material” by some engineers, graphene consists of a one-atom-thick layer of carbon arranged in a hexagonal pattern. The material is 200 times stronger than steel and is an extremely efficient conductor of heat and electricity.

Graphene also can significantly improve the performance of sound-dampening foam. Mixing a small amount of graphene—less than one half of a percent of the overall product—with foam can provide a 17% reduction in noise, while improving heat endurance 30% and enhance mechanical properties by 20%, according to the carmaker.

Ford has been working with suppliers since 2014 on potential applications for the material, including covers for fuel rails, pumps and engines. The company is partnering with polyurethane foam molder Eagle Industries Inc. and graphene nanomaterial specialist XG Sciences Inc. on the F-150 and Mustang installations.