Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Future of Nanotechnology in Automotive

Implementation of Nanotechnology in future hybrid cars.
(Modified Fig.-Nanotechnology innovation opportunities for tomorrow’s defence)

It is impossible for a single technology to influence almost every major industry around the world. Nanotechnology falls into this category and offers fundamentally unique potential and capabilities to architect a broad array of novel materials, composites and structures on a molecular scale. This technology has the potential to re-define the rules, principle and methods used for developing lighter, stronger, and high-performance structures and processes with unique and non-traditional properties.

In Future vehicles are expected to be lightweight, multipurpose, intelligence-guided, low in energy consumption, greater fuel efficiency, safe and protective for the passengers, comfortable and highly durable & reliable. The following table gives a short overview of possible application fields of nanotechnological  functionalities in automotive engineering. In future, we will be able to count on a number of further applications that will concern all branches of the automotive industry and its subcontractors.

Overview of possible application fields of nanotechnological  functionalities in automotive engineering (Source:WWW.hessen-nanotech.de)

Materials -

Nanotechnology enables the following material functionalities:
·  Lightweight: high strength nanocomposite plastics are expected to replace metal and thus reduce weight and radar signature
· Smart components: components with built-in condition and load monitoring sensors, in the long term: self-repairing or self-healing materials
· Adaptive structures: active structures that adapt to changing conditions such as adaptive camouflage, suspension, flexible/rigid etc.
·   Stealth: radar absorption coatings, camouflage

·  Armour: nanoparticle, nanofiber reinforced antiballistic structures, reactive nanoparticle armour, shock absorbing nanotubes


Information and communication technologies -

·   Future vehicles are expected to be equipped with the following features:
·   Position sensing and signalling: GPS for navigation and with EAS for tracking and tracing vehicles
·   Identification: RFID - tags for remote identification
·   Security: radar, bolometer (infrared) for surveillance, and acoustic arrays for sniper detection
·   Wireless networks: vehicle internal sensor network will become wireless; connection to distributed external network

·    Directional RF communication: micro antenna arrays enable directional radio communication with reduced power and signature

First All-Nanowire Sensor

Remote and unmanned guidance 

With nanotechnology advanced sensor and wireless communication capabilities are becoming possible, e.g. via distributed ad-hoc sensor networks, enabling long -range guidance of all kinds of vehicles. Advanced intelligence can be built-in thanks to the expanding μ-sensor capabilities, integration of sensor functions and information processing power. Especially for military use, continuous effort is put in the development of unmanned and autonomous vehicles e.g. for surveillance. Nanotechnology is crucial here to minimize size, weight and power consumption, important for long range coverage.


Focus is on lightweight and energy-efficient powering. Reduction of thermal, radar and acoustic signature is an additional aspect for the military. Main developments are:

hybrid, electrical/combustion, powering, driven by civil automotive, reduces consumption, Hydrogen fuel cell, preferably with diesel or biofuel (e.g. sugar) as hydrogen source via microreactor conversion for miniaturised, unmanned vehicles: μ-fuel cell, μ-nuclear battery.


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