Graphene Enhanced Polyurethane Foam: Ford Promotes New Innovation for Vehicle Parts

Ford, in collaboration with Tier I Eagle Industries and XG Sciences, has made innovative advances in PU foam for auto components.

In a new first for the automobile industry, Ford, collaborating with Tier I Eagle Industries and major graphene supplier XG Sciences, has invented a method to utilize a very small amount of graphene to greatly improve upon lightweight foam that has better heat conductivity and improved noise reduction. The new material has been named as xGnP graphene-enhanced polyurethane (PU) foam.

Graphene has found plenty of applications in the automotive industry. The allotrope is up to 200 times stronger than steel and one of the best conductive materials to be found. It can also act as a great sound barrier and can be fine and flexible.

Ford uses a use a very small amount, less than ½%, to help gain the significant improvements in durability, sound resistance and weight reduction, characteristics which havenot been thought of by others.

A number of auto components such as fuel rail covers, pump covers and front engine covers are made with the use of the new material. The graphene is mixed with PU foam ingredients, and tests that were carried out by Ford and its collaborators has displayed about a significant reduction in noise, and great improvement in mechanical properties and heat endurance properties, when compared conventional foam that is made without graphene.

The potential for graphene in present for numerous applications, the graphene-enhanced PU foam makes possibilities open up for other materials, and creating even better improvements of material performance. The new material is to be used in a number of Ford vehicles including the Ford F-150 and Mustang.

Set up in Wixom, Eagle Industries is a major player that conceptualizes and manufactures components for automotive original equipment manufacturers. XG Sciences, Inc. is a large scale supplier of graphene nano-platelets and other customized advanced formulations to OEMs worldwide, including electronics, energy and industrial markets in numerous countries.

Earlier this month, XG Sciences finished the first phase of expansion with a new 64,000-square-foot facility. The expansion has added 90 tonnes/year of graphene production capacity, and making the formulation of up to 18,000 tonnes possible for every year. Phase two is anticipated to be finished by the end of the year and will result in a much higher output capacity. The expansions aid in XG’s objective to continue the commercialization of graphene in customer products across a number of industry verticals.

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