Crush Cans and the 2013 Ford Fusion

Innovative technology is a key safety feature Ford says.

Ford crush can technology

You just never know what you’re going to find inside of your car. In this case, the “inside” is what you don’t see, specifically the inner workings of the 2013 Ford Fusion’s front bumper system. That car goes on sale this fall, offering a radical departure from the current model.

Evos Design Language

Perhaps most radical for the Fusion is its new fascia, a look that incorporates the brand’s Evos design language. Its grille seems similar to what you might find on an Aston Martin — a brand Ford once owned — and its front bumper is flared, rising above a pair of sporty fog lamps.

That bumper may look vulnerable in a crash, but if you could tear it apart it would offer a very interesting perspective on how parts and passengers would be protected in a front end crash. The photo above details that information, revealing that Ford makes use of crush cans to absorb impact energy in low-speed crashes, thereby reducing damage to the main parts of the car and protecting its occupants.

Crush Can Technology

Specifically, Ford says that the crush cans are designed to impact as efficiently as possible, reducing costly damages to the Fusion’s cooling system and horn. More than 120 different shapes were tested in computer simulations before the ideal diamond-square layout was chosen and developed.

“After testing more than 120 different shapes for the Fusion crush can, we found the diamond square to be the best shape to help offer protection at low- and high-speed impact,” said Raj Jayachandran, one of the Ford engineers who developed the crush can.

Each of the two cans used are constructed of hollow pieces of metal that can be found between the bumper and the front end of the vehicle structure. Somewhat like squeezing an aluminum can, the crush cans are also squeezed, but because high-strength metals are used the resistance force is much more effective.

Simple Assembly

Ford bolts the Fusion’s crush cans and bumper beam assembly right onto the front rails, making it easier and cheaper to replace. At higher speeds, the crush can is designed to collapse around itself in tighter spirals, offering protection to the vehicle’s occupants. Ford says that in a 35 mph crash the can “resembles a condensed screw” because of the way it crushes.

Although not yet safety-rated, Ford’s engineers used top-end safety rating benchmarks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to ensure a safer ride for this next generation Fusion. Ford says that the new sedan will offer a 10 percent increase in body strength over the current Fusion as the new model makes greater use of high-strength steel. This model also brings in front row knee airbags and adaptive front airbags to provide enhanced protection for its first row occupants.

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Photo courtesy of the Ford Motor Company.