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Ford demonstrates carbon-fiber hood prototype in Germany.

Taipei, Nov. 2, 2012 (CENS)--American automaker Ford Motor Co. recently demonstrated a prototype carbon-fiber engine hood that helps lower fuel consumption.

The carbon-fiber reinforced plastic Ford Focus hood displayed at the Composites Europe event in Dusseldorf, Germany is constructed from the super-strong material usually associated with racing vehicles or high-performance sports cars.

According to Ford, the prototype hood weighs less than 50% of a standard steel version. As a result of progress made during an on-going research project involving engineers from the Ford European Research Center, production time for an individual carbon-fiber hood is fast enough for a production line 'V a significant step towards increased usage of lightweight materials in Ford vehicles.

"It's no secret that reducing a vehicle's weight can deliver major benefits for fuel consumption, but a process for fast and affordable production of carbon fiber automotive parts in large numbers has never been available," said Inga Wehmeyer, advanced materials and processes research engineer, Ford European Research Centre.

The involvement of Ford European Research Centre in the Hightech. NRW research project follows Ford's partnership with Dow Automotive Systems; a collaboration announced earlier this year that will investigate new materials, design processes and manufacturing techniques.

Dow Automotive Systems and Ford will focus on establishing an economical source of automotive-grade carbon fiber, as well as high-volume manufacturing methods: both critical to increasing the range of future Ford battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Carbon fiber offers very high strength-to-weight ratio, being up to five times as strong as steel, twice as stiff, and one-third the weight. Advanced materials such as carbon fiber are key to Ford's plans to reduce the weight of its cars by up to 340kg by the end of the decade. ((Quincy Liang))

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Author:Liang, Quincy
Publication:The Taiwan Economic News
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Nov 2, 2012
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