Ford and DowAksa have formalized their agreement to improve carbon fiber components to reduce vehicle weight and increase fuel efficiency.

The agreement, between Ford Motor Company, Ford Global Technologies and DowAksa – a 50/50 joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company and Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.S – will make use of DowAksa’s feedstock capacity, carbon fiber conversion and downstream intermediates production capabilities with Ford's design, engineering and high-volume manufacturing expertise. The goal is to produce materials that make cost-effective carbon fiber composite parts that are much lighter than steel but meet automotive strength requirements.

‘This joint development agreement reinforces Ford’s commitment to our partnership with DowAksa, and our drive to bring carbon fiber components to the broader market,’ said Mike Whitens, director, Vehicle Enterprise Sciences, Ford Research & Advanced Engineering. ‘The goal of our work here fits within the company’s Blueprint for Sustainability, where future Ford vehicles will be lighter with optimized performance that would help consumers further improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.’

Individual strengths

 ‘Automotive manufacturers’ use of carbon fiber composites has been hindered by the absence of both high-volume manufacturing methods and affordable material formats,’ added DowAska vice chairman Mehmet Ali Berkman. ‘This partnership combines the individual strengths of each company to target these challenges.’

As announced in January, the companies will be part of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), announced by President Obama as part of the larger National Network for Manufacturing Innovation supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

This story is reprinted from material from Metalysis, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.