WILL IT BLEND? FORD FIESTA ULTRA-HIGH-STRENGTH BORON STEEL PUTS YOUTUBE BLENDER TO TEST
- Don’t try this at home! Blendtec®, maker of the Total Blender®, recently tried but failed to crack, cut or crush a piece of boron steel used in the Ford Fiesta on its “Will It Blend?” viral video
- More than 50 percent of the all-new Fiesta’s body structure will be made from high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel including boron steel, which helps deliver great fuel economy and low CO2 emissions
- Not only is boron useful in making steel stronger, the element also serves an array of household and industrial uses ranging from the ordinary (detergents, insecticides and glass) to the extraordinary (pyrotechnics, rocket fuel, nuclear reactors)
CONTEXT / BACKGROUND:
Ford Fiesta Movement agent Ryan Dembroski of Milwaukee recently traveled to the “Will It Blend?” studio in Orem, Utah, to put a piece of the Fiesta’s ultra-high-strength boron steel to the Blendtec Total Blender test. Having decimated objects including an Apple iPhone, marbles and magnets, Tom Dickson, founder of Blendtec and host of the popular YouTube videos, tried but failed to crack, cut or crush the steel. While boron steel won’t blend, it will help protect occupants of the Fiesta and many other Ford vehicles.
Has there ever been an element better named than boron? Antimony? That’s a Greek goddess, right? Californium? Don’t the USC Trojans play there? And isn’t Xenon an alien planet?
The chemists who named boron, on the other hand, hit the nail on the head. It actually sounds strong, hard and elemental – like iron or krypton. It’s probably some superhero’s Achilles’ heel.
Boron is used to make steel super strong, which is what Blendtec found out the hard way. The element is used to strengthen car parts, aerospace structures, even golf clubs and fishing rods. It is extremely versatile, serving an array of household and industrial uses.
Boron is used in:
According to Wikipedia, boron is relatively rare, representing only 0.001 percent of the Earth’s crust. The worldwide deposits are estimated as 10 million tons, with nearly three quarters of it coming from Turkey. The element also is found in the Mojave Desert in California. Nearly all boron ore is extracted for refinement into boric acid for antiseptic, insecticide and flame retardant, or borax for detergents, cosmetics and enamel glazes.
Boron and beyond
Ford uses boron and other ultra-high-strength lightweight steels in various structural areas on several of its current models, including the Ford Taurus, Transit Connect, Flex, Mustang, F-150 and Focus, as well as the Lincoln MKS. Boron will also be extensively used in the all-new 2011 Ford Fiesta to help protect occupants in the event of a collision.
The Fiesta uses an exceptionally high level of cold- and hot-formed high-strength steels in its body structure. More than 50 percent of the body structure is high-strength steel, including grades of very high-strength, dual-phase steel and ultra-high-strength aluminized boron steel.
Yet, despite its additional strength, the all-new Fiesta body structure overall is lightweight. This means advancements in safety are achieved in harmony with fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
High-strength steels are used in areas of the 2011 Fiesta where structural strength and reinforcement are essential for crashworthiness. This includes the floor structure, front rails and beams, and the vehicle’s integrated body-side reinforcement to help protect against side impact.
High-strength materials are used to create a very strong B-pillar section and a strong rocker section fore and aft in a crash. Impact loads are also transferred laterally to the opposite side of the car via under-body crossmembers to maximize dissipation of side-impact forces. This integrated body-side reinforcement resists side intrusion in the event of a collision and helps the body structure manage the energy of other impacts effectively – be they frontal, offset or rear.
Elements of the body-side reinforcement include the slim A-pillar forming the forward part of the vehicle’s stylish roof arch, the intrusion-resistant B-pillar, the rocker panels or lower rails to which the B-pillar is fixed, the stabilizing rocker baffles, side roof arch and the lower A-pillar.
These individual high-strength elements are formed into an integrated subassembly during manufacturing before they are joined to the vehicle on the production line. This process ensures better joint strength and a more efficient body structure.
Even more high-strength steel
High-strength steel can be found in other areas of the all-new Fiesta’s body structure, including:
- The dual-phase steel front and side frame rails feature structural actuation points – or “trigger points” – to initiate predictable collapse in crush zones. Forming the triggers hardens the dual-phase material, giving it unique twin characteristics of energy absorption and energy resistance.
- Under-floor structural beams – or “sled-runners” – also are formed from dual-phase steel, as are lateral floor reinforcements, which help manage front and side-impact forces. Reinforcements in the vehicle’s roof, doors and floor are made from other gauges of high-strength steel, including boron steel beams.
For more information on the Ford Fiesta and the use of ultra-high-strength steel, click here.
IMAGES: Available at www.media.ford.com.
Images represent the European Ford Fiesta, which differs somewhat from the North American version due to different safety requirements.
“Safety is an important attribute for the new Fiesta, but achieving real weight reduction was also a key objective. High-strength steels – cold- and hot-formed – were key to delivering the lighter weight and higher strength we needed for structural efficiency. We believe the materials used on the new Fiesta are setting a new benchmark in the small car segment.”
– Bernd Liesenfelder,
Body engineering manager, Ford of Europe
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 205,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.