15th July 2016 by Richard Yen
For today’s look back at last year’s Altair Enlighten Award, we’re going to review a combined entry from BASF, Magna and Ford.
Carbon fiber composites are now a common material in high end sports cars, often used to replace what were traditionally metallic components. For its entry, the combined team intended to replace the metallic grille opening reinforcements (GOR) with a lighter composite alternative on the 2016 Shelby Mustang GT350.
The GOR are used to structurally tie the upper rails (shotguns) to the lower frame rails, providing the general shape of the front end, absorb energy during a frontal impact, provide a rigid mount for crash sensor, and facilitate attachment schemes for components such as head lights, hood latch, and front fascia assembly. The GOR increases the overall body stiffness to the front of the vehicle and are intended to be easily unbolted if necessary so that the engine can be removed.
The new all carbon fiber composite GOR for the 2016 Shelby Mustang GT350 has an overall system weight of 8.1 lbs. versus the previous version of 10.6 lbs. In addition, the traditional metallic design was not aesthetically pleasing meaning that Ford was required to cover the component with a ‘beauty cover’ which in itself weighed in at 1.9 lbs. The new carbon fiber alternative has allowed the company to do away with the additional cover.
The nomination was significant as it highlighted the often overlooked secondary weight savings that are achievable through the pursuit of a minimum mass design. Something which my colleague, Lars Fredriksson wrote about at length in this post from 2013 – The Knock-on Effects of Optimization.
Download a PDF of this entry here – Ford-Magna-Exteriors-BASF