Plastics & Rubber

BASF, Ford and Magna develop grille with new plastic carbon fiber composite reinforcement

A lighter, aesthetic and high-performing grille for the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang – that is the result of a cooperation between BASF, Magna and Ford. Due to the lightweight material concept of BASF they could create a grille opening reinforcement (GOR) totally made of plastic reinforced with carbon fiber. This makes the GOR 24 percent lighter than the former plastic-metal hybrid design. The two-piece carbon fiber composite GOR combines the upper and the lower frame rails while giving the front-end its general shape and raising the overall stiffness of the front vehicle body. The grille is constructed with BASF’s polyamide Ultramid® A3WC4 with 20 percent short carbon fiber reinforcement. Therefor it is 2.5 pounds lighter than the metal stamping over-molded plastic predecessor. By forgoing the beauty cover, which normally conceals the GOR, Ford could add another loss of 1.9 pounds getting the total weight savings of 45 percent.

The 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang with a carbon fiber composite grille opening reinforcement (GOR). Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Once Magna evolved the shape and concept, the supplier along with BASF enhanced the design. This was also possible with BASF’s Ultrasim® simulation tool, the proprietary material characterization technology, which can forecast the material’s performance with up to 90 to 95 percent accuracy. Ultrasim® illustrates the material’s performance in simulation to fine tune the design, maximize structural performance and minimize material usage.

Find out more on the joint project GOR here. For further technical questions on the product, please contact the Ultraplaste-Infopoint: