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Nanomaterials in the Automotive Industry

It’s the nature of the automotive industry to be constantly evolving, developing and improving. The need for better efficiency, cleaner outputs and ways to conserve energy weigh heavy above our heads, but where do nanomaterials play into this? Nanomaterials aren’t newcomers in the automotive universe, however, the development in how they are used is ongoing, with researchers finding more and more new advantages in using them.

The Advantages

  • Reduction in friction
  • Reduction in emissions
  • Light weight
  • UV protection
  • Wear resistance
  • Noise reduction
  • Impact absorption

How are nanomaterials helping fuel consumption?

Ford was the first company within the auto industry to use Graphene nanocomposites. They introduced the material into different parts of the car, including in and around the engine, inside the pumps, and in the body of the car. It was found that adding Graphene to with foam constituents caused the car to be lighter, have better durability and sound resistance.

Nanomaterials allow reduction in fuel consumption by having a higher combustion efficiency along with an increased efficiency due to their high surface area. We can use nanomaterials like nanonets and trap molecules from the engine whilst the aerosol formation is happening in the engine. Moreover, modern catalytic converters are using metal nanoparticles to increase the catalytic efficacy, providing a faster, cleaner and less expensive solution.  In addition, by reducing the weight of the car, we can achieve lower levels of fuel consumption leading to a greener and more sustainable resolution with less produced by-products.

Can nanomaterials compete with traditional materials?

Goodfellow offers a wide range of nanomaterials, all tried and tested against their more traditional counterparts. Metal and alloyed nanomaterials come in different shapes and sizes and can be used for various applications in the automotive industry, starting from fuel consumption to body parts of the car and even on the exhaust. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes have been tested in order to replace the electrodes of the Hydrogen fuel cells and can also be used to make a component more lightweight.

As for competing with traditional fuels, by adding nanomaterials to liquid petroleum it’s possible to enhance the thermal and mass transfer inside the liquid and increase the reaction activity of the blended fuel. Adding nanoparticles to liquid fuel provides a better solution for the future, as it will be greener, more sustainable, and make engine emissions more efficient. Recently, we have seen a rise in electric car options, which of course use Lithium batteries. Here, nanomaterials such as multi-walled carbon nanotubes can replace Graphite electrodes within the Lithium batteries. This might actually enhance the battery performance and its lifespan.

To conclude…

Nanomaterials have superior properties compared to the more conventional materials used in the automotive industry. Along with reducing friction and emissions, nanomaterials provide wear resistance and UV protection, which is certainly helpful when used on a vehicle’s exterior. Goodfellow stocks a great range of nanomaterials, including metal nanomaterials and nanoparticles – like gold particles – ceramic nanomaterials -like Boron Nitride Nanotubes and Alumina- plus carbon nanomaterials, such as Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene.,

To discuss our range of nanomaterials further, contact one of our team today.