Applications of Nanotechnology in the Automotive Industry

The creation and use of devices and tools on an atomic level or Nanotechnology is something that might bring a new revolution for human civilization. Nanotech certainly has the future in many fields, it can greatly advance the automotive industry and have a visible impact on the world of vehicles, driving and racing.

One is for sure, nanotechnology can leave its mark in every area of motoring, so it’s one of the most promising technologies in this field, attracting hundreds of researchers and investors all over the world.

A huge amount of research and funding leads to a growing number of breakthroughs in the field which additionally boost the possibilities of this area of science. It has real potential to push different fields of motoring forward. But, where nanotech can leave its mark in car manufacturing? Let’s find out and learn.

Engine Development

Let’s start from the most important part of any car—its heart, its engine. Every day, we push our internal combustion engines to the fullest asking from them to provide better performance in a smaller size and weight. When it comes to high-performance engines, they definitely don’t like to be confined.

However, thanks to nanotechnology, we can have our cake and eat it too. Before nanotech, engine blocks that house the mechanism and its integral parts were usually made of cast iron. This material could resist the high temperatures and pressures produced in the engine, but it is also very heavy.

Today, though, nano-engineers know how to manipulate aluminum on an atomic level, so they can create materials that are both strong and lightweight (even lighter than the current batch of strong aluminum alloys). This allows new engines to be more fuel-efficient and durable, even in the hostile conditions of modern engineering.

Chassis and Bodywork

Chassis and Bodywork

When it comes to fuel efficiency (no matter if you have a petrol, diesel or electric car), it greatly depends on weight, and even the small reduction in weight can have a positive effect on the fuel consumption.

One of the easiest ways to reduce weight is to use new materials for the chassis parts and bodyworks-this is where nanotechnology and nano-manipulation of materials can create stronger and lighter panels and chassis. Thanks to nanotech, it’s also responsible for the creation of plastic panels that can self-repair and reform themselves after certain damage.

Nano Ceramic Coatings

Nano-sized layers are increasingly being used on various car surfaces to enhance protection from the elements, and self-repair. These ‘smart’ particles can help keep grime and dirt away from the car body, so your car can always look clean.

Nanotechnology also has a notable use in nano ceramic coatings that boost the durability of the paint job. Leading designers in the automotive industry use nano coatings to enhance the vehicle’s beauty while making the paint more durable and easier to keep clean.

These ‘smart’ particles might even be able to change the outer color of the car in the future by adjusting the electrical charge in them, which will create a real revolution in car design.

Hydrocarbon Fuel Cells

Fuel cells can also be improved by nanotechnology and provide the industry with a clean alternative to hydrocarbon fuel. Fuel cells let hydrogen pass over a catalyst to produce hydrogen ions which react with oxygen and produce energy.

Variations of platinum nano-structures are used as catalysts to maximize the surface area and harvest the greatest number of hydrogen ions, resulting in more efficient energy production.

Enhanced Battery Life and Efficiency

Since electric vehicles are getting more common in our streets, engineers are constantly working on better ways to boost battery life and its performance. Their research led us to lithium-silicon batteries which offer better performance and longer lifespan.

The latest discovery in this field of research is silicon nanowires that expand and contract while absorbing and shedding lithium ions, as well as tiny nano-structures with carbon shells that protect silicon cores rich in lithium. This combination of elements provides the system with a more efficient energy transfer producing a smaller energy waste to the environment.

Interiors and Nanotech

Interiors of our vehicles can also be changed and improved with the use of nanotechnology. Nano-fabrics can help keep our cars looking new and clean for a long time by repelling bacteria, creating soft and safe interiors.

Additionally, just like with the exteriors, the color of the interior might be able to be changed thanks to nanotech, so the user can choose any color combination while retaining the excellent antibacterial properties.

Wrapping Up

Nanotechnology is becoming one of the most important and cost-effective branches in the automotive industry, especially since scientists are constantly finding new ways to nano-manipulate materials and apply these new materials in production.

Nanotech is predicted to create cleaner, quieter, more energy-effective, and aesthetically pleasing vehicles in the future, so everyone from everyday drivers to automotive aficionados, collectors, and investors have something to look forward to in the years in front of us.

About the author
Mike Johnston is an avid blogging enthusiast and experienced freelance writer. He’s a regular contributor to numerous online publications, where he writes about business, finance, technology, and management.