Clinton, New Jersey (June 24, 2020) – ESE Carbon Company, an affiliate of ESE Industries, announced it has received a $500,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lightweight Materials National Laboratory Consortium (LightMAT) for its proposal titled “Industrialization of Carbon Fiber Composite Wheels for Automobiles and Trucks.”
The award comes in the form of technical assistance and materials characterization by ESE Carbon’s partner on the project, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). ESE Carbon will match ORNL’s contribution with its own in-kind contribution of engineering, design, and materials for test panels and other specimens.
The project’s goal is to leverage ORNL’s impressive capabilities and expertise in composite manufacturing and materials characterization to accelerate the development and commercialization of ESE Carbon’s one-piece carbon fiber composite wheel, the “E2”. The resulting test data will provide key material property parameters and will support ESE Carbon’s goal of satisfying the requirements of the new, upcoming SAE Recommended Practice for Aftermarket Composite Wheels, SAE J3204.
According to Dr. Michael Hayes, ESE Carbon’s VP Head of Engineering, “This data will also allow us to better optimize our fiber architecture and manufacturing processes to increase performance, reduce weight, and improve productivity, as we roll out multiple sizes of the E2 and also look ahead to new wheel design concepts for the aftermarket and OEM partners. We are very excited to be partnered with ORNL, and we look forward to sharing our data with the composites community upon completion of the project.”
The DOE funds were awarded through LightMAT’s Directed Funding Assistance #4 program titled “Enabling Cost Effective Lightweighting of Seats, Wheels, and Steering Knuckles”. LightMAT is a network of 10 national laboratories with technical capabilities highly relevant to lightweight materials development and utilization. With its considerable resources in composite materials and geographic proximity to ESE Carbon’s factory (a 2.5-hr drive), ORNL is a natural partner. ORNL is also home to the DOE’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF), which is developing Low-Cost Carbon Fiber (LCCF) manufacturing technologies.
Dr. Brian Knouff, ORNL research lead said, “Oak Ridge National Laboratory has decades of experience in the design, development, characterization, testing and manufacturing of industrial carbon fiber composites. We are looking forward to working with ESE Carbon on research and development of composite wheels.” The project is a 2-year effort that kicked off January 2020.
About ESE Industries
ESE Industries was founded in Jasper, Georgia, in 2011 with a passion for making advanced carbon fiber composites more accessible to the automotive, aerospace, marine and military industries. We use innovative new technologies such as tailored fiber placement (TFP) and a proprietary high pressure resin infusion to make the most mechanically efficient parts while dramatically lowering our raw material cost.
ESE Industries also launched the ESE Carbon Company, which is bringing E2 wheel carbon fiber wheels to production. Some of our team members serve on the SAE International committee, the body that is developing international standards for carbon fiber wheels.