The automotive industry is constantly in pursuit of innovation. New technology has made the modern car faster, lighter, more comfortable and increasingly efficient. Many technologies have disrupted the field, and nanotechnology is one of the latest and most impactful.
Innovation has perhaps never been more critical to the industrys success than right now. As of 2018, 67% of people worldwide saw climate change as a significant threat, compared to just 56% in 2013. Since transportation is a substantial contributor to carbon emissions, theres a rising demand for the industry to become eco-friendly.
Environmental concerns aside, there are more drivers now than ever before, and that number keeps climbing. Automakers have to keep improving to satisfy the needs and desires of their growing consumer base. Nanotechnology provides a solution.
Nanotechnology refers to the applications of science, engineering and technology that occur on a nanoscale. The nanoscale deals with materials between one and 100 nanometers, so small that theyre invisible to the naked eye. Given this tiny scale, companies havent had the technology to work with these materials extensively until relatively recently.
When engineers and scientists work with nanotech, they manipulate the very atoms that make up other materials. They adjust the physical and chemical properties of matter. This level of precision enables tremendous advances and changes in how materials, parts and devices interact with the world.
This field has applications across many industries, but automakers have taken a particular interest in it. Its no exaggeration to say that nanotech has revolutionized the sector. Heres how.
One of the most common applications of nanotechnology in the auto industry is in weight reduction. Lighter cars can accelerate faster and are more fuel-efficient, as they take less power to move. Nanotechnology can create novel materials that provide the strength cars need without weighing them down.
While steel and aluminium may be comparatively light for metals, theyre still heavy. With nanotechnology, engineers can design plastics and carbon-based materials that are far lighter than these metals. Car components made from some nanoengineered plastics can be up to 40% lighter than traditional steel parts.
In addition to creating new materials, nanotechnology can improve preexisting ones. Engineers can use nanotech to modify the physical properties of steel or aluminium, improving their relative strength to achieve similar results with less material.
As the world becomes more concerned about climate change, sustainability becomes increasingly crucial for automakers. Since nanotechnology makes cars lighter, it makes them more fuel-efficient, leading to fewer carbon emissions. Nano carbons also have a thermal conductivity five times higher than other materials, reducing heat waste to improve efficiency further.
Nanotechnology has green applications beyond increasing the efficiency of fossil fuel cars, too. Nano engineers have recently developed methods for embedding silicon nanoparticles into graphene battery components to make lithium-silicon batteries. This technology can make batteries last 20% longer per charge, making electric cars a more viable option.
Nanotechnology also paves the way for thinner, more efficient hydrogen fuel cells. These technologies provide another green alternative to fossil fuel cars, producing water and heat as their only emissions. As these sustainable alternatives improve, car owners will have more options for zero-emission vehicles.
Nanoengineered materials are also typically more durable than traditionally manufactured alternatives. Research has shown that nanoparticles substantially improve scratch and abrasion resistance and maintain these properties for longer. These improvements come mostly from the way nanoparticles move as a vehicles coating encounters more elements.
As cars face adverse weather or even prolonged UV exposure from the sun, they develop microscopic scratches and cracks in their coating. Nanoparticles tend to fill pores as they appear, clogging up these minute blemishes and protecting the materials underneath. As a result, it takes longer for the elements to affect the metal under the paint, preventing rust and other corrosion.
Nanotech can improve the durability of tires, too. Materials like soot and silica improve rubbers natural properties, and the size of these particles directly impacts their efficacy. By applying these materials on a nanoscale, automakers can maximize their benefits, making tires more resistant without sacrificing grip.
Another leading application of nanotechnology in the auto industry is in the interior of a car. Vehicle interiors hold a lot of soft materials like felt and leather to make seats more comfortable. While excellent for comfort, these porous surfaces can trap bacteria and other microorganisms that could pose a risk to passengers health.
Metallic nanoparticles like silver and titanium oxide have unique antimicrobial properties that can solve this problem. Many of these tiny metal particles destroy the cell membrane of harmful microbes while posing no risk to humans. Hospitals have started using them extensively to disinfect equipment and manufacture drugs, and the auto industry has caught on.
Car manufacturers can coat interiors with these metallic nanoparticles, helping prevent the spread of disease. Similar coatings in a vehicles air filter can eliminate harmful microbes from the air, too.
Not all improvements from nanotechnology deal with vehicle performance and safety. Some are less crucial yet still central to the business side of the auto industry. Namely, nanotechnology makes cars more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
Some nanomaterial coatings can make surfaces hydrophobic and dirt-repellant. These improvements can help keep cars clean, both inside and outside. The anti-corrosion properties of nanoparticle-infused paints dont just protect the chassis but maintain the paints factory polish. With fewer scratches and blemishes, cars retain their initial beauty for longer.
Since some nanomaterials have tremendous heat conductivity, theyre ideal for heated seats. Seat cushions woven from nanofibers can heat up and cool faster than traditional materials, providing a more comfortable ride.
As technology advances, cars are featuring more and more of it. The more tech features a vehicle has, the more likely it is to sell, and some of this tech improves performance as well. Nanotechnology is just the latest in a long tradition of the industry embracing cutting-edge tech.
Nanotech is still relatively new, yet the automotive industry has already capitalized on it. As these technologies become cheaper and more versatile, theyll see even broader implementation. Nanotechnology could easily revolutionize transportation.
Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about a variety of topics, including the most recent trends in tech. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for regular updates!
- Announcing Six Winners of the Third Annual Manning/IALS Innovation Awards : Institute for Applied Life Sciences - UMass News and Media Relations - November 13th, 2021
- Lecturer Positions in Intelligent Systems Engineering job with Indiana University Bloomington / Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and... - November 13th, 2021
- Pressure BioSciences Awarded Second U.S. Patent for Its Revolutionary Ultra Shear Technology Platform, for Its Innovative NanoGap Valve - Yahoo... - November 13th, 2021
- Novel Imaging Technique Takes High Resolution 3D Images of Cells - AZoNano - November 13th, 2021
- "Dialogues between world Laureates and Gen-Z" was successfully held: an event focusing on Gen Z and the future of Science - PRNewswire - November 13th, 2021
- NVIDIA Announces Jetson AGX Orin: Modules and Dev Kits Coming In Q1'22 - AnandTech - November 13th, 2021
- Research on Food and Beverage Air Filtration Market Key Data Points Necessary for Effective Strategies | 3M, APC Filtration, Camfil Group, Donaldson... - November 13th, 2021
- Scientists invent 'smart' window material that blocks rays without blocking views - Nanowerk - November 13th, 2021
- How can Australia get cracking on emissions? The know-how we need is in our universities - The Conversation AU - November 13th, 2021
- Machine learning links material composition and performance in catalysts - Nanowerk - August 24th, 2021
- What Is Nanotechnology And How Is It Impacting Neuroscience? - Forbes - August 24th, 2021
- Could Nanotechnology Help to End the Fight Against COVID-19? | IJN - Dove Medical Press - August 24th, 2021
- Are Radioactive Diamond Batteries the Solution to Nuclear Waste? - Interesting Engineering - August 24th, 2021
- Updating the PLOS ONE Nanomaterials Collection Author Perspectives, Part 2 - EveryONE - PLoS Blogs - August 24th, 2021
- Scientists Develop Woven Nanotube Fibers Capable of Converting Heat into Energy - AZoNano - August 24th, 2021
- This engineer is searching for signs of life in the clouds of Venus - Create - create digital - August 24th, 2021
- Ultra-Low IQ PMIC from ROHM Selected to Power NXP iMX8M Nano for High Performance Embedded Artists Industrial Control Board - EE Journal - February 20th, 2021
- Perseverance touches down on Mars and Jaguar going electric: 10 top stories of the week - Professional Engineering - February 20th, 2021
- mHealth Wearable Boosts Remote Patient Monitoring, Connected Health - mHealthIntelligence.com - February 20th, 2021
- New Skin Patch Brings Us Closer to Wearable, All-In-One Health Monitor - I-Connect007 - February 20th, 2021
- Next: Superconducting nanowires could be used in circuits - Electronics Weekly - February 20th, 2021
- 4 UCSD Researchers Win Sloan Research Fellowships for Early Career Scientists - Times of San Diego - February 20th, 2021
- Pendse named 2021 Distinguished Maine Professor - UMaine News - University of Maine - University of Maine - February 20th, 2021
- New Polymer Cores Added to Windows Could Solve Energy Issues for Buildings - AZoBuild - February 20th, 2021
- Caltech Professor Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering Pasadena Now - Pasadena Now - February 15th, 2021
- Caltech: Tai Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering - India Education Diary - February 15th, 2021
- Plastic-nanotube composite 'tougher and lighter than similar forms of aluminium' - Professional Engineering - February 15th, 2021
- New coalmine questioned and high-density hydro planned: 10 top stories of the week - Professional Engineering - February 15th, 2021
- Scientists study moving worm "blobs" to create robot swarms - Big Think - February 15th, 2021
- Riding the Funding Wave: These DFW Startups Got the Money in 2020 Dallas Innovates - dallasinnovates.com - February 15th, 2021
- UVA Honors Distinguished Researchers at Virtual Awards Event - University of Virginia - February 4th, 2021
- Nanostructure of the Anodic and Nanomaterials Sol-Gel Based Materials Application: Advances in Surface Engineering - Products Finishing Magazine - December 19th, 2020
- Evelyn Hu delivers 2020 Dresselhaus Lecture on leveraging defects at the nanoscale - MIT News - December 19th, 2020
- COVID-19 airborne transmission research suggests potential therapies | University of Hawaii System News - UH System Current News - December 19th, 2020
- Engineers awarded for ongoing research excellence - News - The University of Sydney - December 19th, 2020
- New Horizons for research through new adventurous research projects - The University of Manchester - December 19th, 2020
- New collaboration provides opportunity for future water scientists and engineers - Cranfield University - December 19th, 2020
- First of its kind at U of T: MIE launches specialized course in 3D printing - U of T Engineering News - December 19th, 2020
- How Integrated Operations is Using a Breakthrough Misting Technology to Stop the Spread of Deadly Viruses and Bacteria - Iosco County News Herald - October 30th, 2020
- Senior Research Assistant in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics job with THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG | 230871 - Times Higher Education (THE) - October 30th, 2020
- Small Satellite Market Size to Hit USD 9.75 Billion by 2027; Presence of Several Large Scale Companies will have a Positive Impact on Market Growth,... - October 30th, 2020
- Impact Of Covid 19 On 3D Print Materials Industry 2020 Market Challenges, Business Overview And Forecast Research Study 2026 - The Think Curiouser - October 30th, 2020
- The U.S. Finally Has a Sputnik Moment With China - Foreign Policy - October 30th, 2020
- Medtronic Announces Adaptix Interbody System, the First Navigated Titanium Cage with Titan nanoLOCK Surface Technology - BioSpace - October 10th, 2020
- Nanocoolant Alternative for Cooling Elements by UMP Researchers - QS WOW News - October 10th, 2020
- Post Pandemic Nano Gas Sensor Market Size to Reach USD XX Million Billion by 2027 Analysis by Top Manufacturers Raytheon Company, Ball Aerospace and... - October 10th, 2020
- IISc Bengaluru researchers discover nanomotors can lead to early detection of cancer cells - The Indian Express - October 10th, 2020
- Breakout Paper in Journal of Theoretical Biology Explicitly Supports Intelligent Design - Discovery Institute - October 10th, 2020
- Elon Musk's million-mile battery: What it really means - Los Angeles Times - September 23rd, 2020
- Politecnico di Milano: Project for innovation in Nanotechnology is the winner of ERC Starting grant - Science Business - September 23rd, 2020
- Fruit flies' protective corneal coatings reproduced | Research - Chemistry World - September 23rd, 2020
- Toy Insider unveils its Hot 20 List of the year's most wished-for toys - FOX43.com - September 23rd, 2020
- Thin and ultra-fast photodetector sees the full spectrum - Science Codex - September 23rd, 2020
- DiOX carbon free DWR and anti-viral treatments launch in Turkey - Innovation in Textiles - September 23rd, 2020
- New Thin and Ultra-Fast Photodetector can See the Full Spectrum of Light - AZoOptics.com - September 23rd, 2020
- French Exotrail signs two contracts with ESA and stays on track for its electric propulsion mission - SpaceWatch.Global - September 18th, 2020
- Kanazawa University research: Potential drug treatment for particular type of lung-cancer - PRNewswire - September 18th, 2020
- Could Tattoo Ink Be Used to Detect Cancer? - Smithsonian Magazine - September 18th, 2020
- Simulation Software Market Key Drivers, Business Insights, Trends And Forecast 2026 Altair Engineering, Inc., Bentley Systems, Ansys, Inc, Ptc - The... - September 18th, 2020
- Faculty and Staff Achievements Summer 2020 - CSUN Today - September 18th, 2020
- Diomics Announces Agreement With Department of Defense to Accelerate Development and Testing of Diocheck SARS-CoV-2 Immune Response Indicator Patch -... - September 18th, 2020
- Ashok Leyland, Hindustan Zinc team up with IIT-M to develop Zinc air battery - BusinessLine - September 18th, 2020
- The next generation of American nuclear - Power Technology - September 18th, 2020
- Cloth masks are effective at reducing virus transmission because it spreads in respiratory droplets, which are larger than smoke particles and the... - September 18th, 2020
- Build your own robots with this kit on sale for $50.15 - Mashable - September 6th, 2020
- Phase engineering and the final frontier! - Advanced Science News - September 6th, 2020
- The Role of Electron Microscopy in Battery Research - AZoM - September 6th, 2020
- Copper-coated face masks could help slow transmission of COVID-19: U of T researchers - News@UofT - September 6th, 2020
- Impact Of Covid-19 on Graphene Market 2020 Industry Challenges, Business Overview and Forecast Research Study 2026 - Owned - September 6th, 2020
- Nano Gas Sensors Market 2020 Growth Opportunities and Revenue Statistics to 2025 By Top Players | Raytheon Company, Ball Aerospace and Technologies,... - September 4th, 2020
- Surgical Instruments Tracking Systems Market Predicted to Accelerate the Growth by 2018-2028 - Scientect - September 4th, 2020
- Food dyes, tattoo ink can be used to detect cancer: Study - BusinessLine - September 4th, 2020
- 3D Printed Implants Market: Growing Biomedical Applications of 3D Technology is Expected to Boost the Market - BioSpace - September 4th, 2020
- MIT partners with national labs on two new National Quantum Information Science Research Centers - MIT News - September 2nd, 2020
- A new platform for controlled delivery of key nanoscale drugs and more - MIT News - September 2nd, 2020
- Flexible Micro LEDs May Reshape Wearable Technology - Manufacturing Business Technology - September 2nd, 2020
- Carleton Faculty Receive CFI Funding to Support Research Benefiting All Canadians - Carleton Newsroom - September 2nd, 2020
- Nanotextiles Market Estimated size be driven size Innovation and Industrialization COVID-19 2024 - Chelanpress - August 10th, 2020
- Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Internet of Things job with CRANFIELD UNIVERSITY | 218434 - Times Higher Education (THE) - August 8th, 2020
- The End of an Era as Tata Motors Prepare To Sell Their Passenger Car Business - Moneylife - August 8th, 2020