Continental Structural Plastics, a Teijin Group company, is supplying Ford Motor Company with the industry’s first composite, dual-wall-dash engine shroud for use in the 2020 Ford Explorer. Powertrain noise, vibration, and harshness in the vehicle cabin are reduced by the sheet molded compound composite shroud.

To design the new composite engine shroud, Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) collaborated with Ford using the tools in Ford’s new NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) lab.  The shroud creates an air gap between the engine compartment and the steel front bulkhead by wrapping around the back of the engine and meeting the strut towers on each side of the engine bay. The moldability and design flexibility of the composite allowed the shroud to be molded to fit the tight under-hood environment. The composite materials also provide a superior sound barrier when compared to traditional materials.

The new design not only reduces NVH, it also helps to lightweight the new 2020 Ford Explorer. The shroud weighs only 12 pounds – far lighter than a similar shroud made of steel. The composite dual wall dash also reduces engine noise, improves acoustics, provides superior thermal protection for electrical components and accommodates engine assembly and serviceability concerns.

“Composites are a great choice for a number of under-the-hood applications, because of these properties, and the design flexibility they provide,” explained Bryan Ludwig, business development director at CSP. “Because our glass fiber composite is a thermoset, it actually offers better thermal properties than metal, and can be molded thin enough to fit in the tight spaces found in the engine compartment.”

“We are continually looking for ways to help our customers meet design and engineering challenges by using our composite materials,” added Steve Rooney, CEO of CSP. “Because of the superior dampening qualities offered by a composite, Ford was able to achieve a level of cabin quietness that will enhance the driving experience for Explorer and Aviator owners.”