Thursday, 3 January 2013

Future nanotechnology developments for automotive applications

Future nanotechnology developments for automotive applications

Future nanotechnology developments for automotive applications

  • Department FT2/CS, Daimler Chrysler Research, Wilhelm-Runge-Str-11, D-89081 Ulm, Germany


In the automotive industry, nanotechnology applications are manifold. They reach from power train, light-weight construction, energy conversion, pollution sensing and reduction, interior cooling, wear reduction, driving dynamics, surveillance control, up to recycle potential and much more. Additionally, visions of “nano in cars” reach from contributions for CO2-free engines, safe driving, quiet cars, self-healing body and windscreens, up to a mood-depending choice of colour and a self-forming car body. All this will meet the present society trends and customer demands for improved ecology, safety and comfort, often summarised by the term sustainability. For automotive components nanoparticles, -dots, -pores, -fibers, -tubes, -whisker, -layers, either dispersed within a matrix material and called “nanocomposites”, or arranged on surfaces or used as a discrete material and then called “nanostructures”, offer exclusive potential. Volume effects like diffusion, absorption and mechanical strength might be tailored, furthermore surface effects like adsorption, hardness, and catalytic reaction. Self-organisation of structures will play an essential role in growth, deposition and etching. We will present an overview about existing nanotechnologies in cars already on the market, applications with short-term and medium-term potential as well as long-term applications such as light-weight construction using nano-carbon nanotubes which are presently investigated in research labs worldwide and have a high potential if they can be used for automotive bodies.


  • Automotive industry
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nanocomposites
  • Nanoparticles

Figures and tables from this article:
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Fig. 1. Potential areas where nanotechnology can contribute to satisfy society demands in the automotive industry.
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Fig. 2. Customer-specific requirements to future automobiles where nanotechnology has an impact.
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Fig. 3. Porous structures with potential for pollution filters.
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Fig. 4. Si semiconductor composite with multilayered Ge nano-dots for thin film solar cells on the car body.
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Fig. 5. Performance improvements of car components and functionalities achievable by nanotechnology.

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