Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nanotechnology and automotive manufacturing

Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at a molecular scale. This technology is indispensable because many common substances have different and useful properties when reduced in size. It promises to improve the performance of existing technologies significantly.
“Nanotechnology is expected to be a key driver for innovation in the automotive industry,” says Wijia Xie, an industry analyst from research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
“The technology has a wide variety of applications in many vehicle components, including the car body, windows, tires, control system, catalytic converter, and engine systems,” Xie adds.
“The application of nanotechnology is usually done so as to significantly improve the safety, comfort, efficiency and eco-friendliness of future generation cars.”
Indeed, there are a number of processes and products enhanced by nanomaterials that are making an impact in the automotive industry.
These include nanocomposites incorporating a variety of materials for structural reinforcement and safety; nanoparticle catalysts for fuel economy; nanoadditives for lubricants; and easy-clean, anti-fogging, anti-abrasion, anti-corrosion and self-repairing coatings. Companies like Toyota, General Motors, Ford and Rolls-Royce are all taking a lead in developing technologies in these areas.
Over the past decade, one of the most significant technological developments in the plastics industry has been in the use of nanocomposite materials.
Nanocomposites are stiffer, lighter and less brittle in cold temperatures than conventional plastics. They exhibit properties that are greatly different from macroscopic composites and have been shown to yield multiple benefits at relatively low cost compared to traditional methods of plastic enhancement, such as polymerisation.
“Exatec and DuPont developed scratch-resistant coatings for cars with polymer nanocomposite or metal oxide nanoparticles that provide excellent anti-scratch properties against hard-object impacts,” says Xie.
In 2002, General Motors used nanocomposite technology with thermoplastic olefins, thus opening up a whole new area of commercialisation.
The advanced thermoplastic nanocomposite part was used on the maker’s GMC Safari and Chevrolet Astro mid-size vans. It was the first automotive exterior application of this lightweight, high-performance and affordable material. Other automotive parts that have been developed from the material include exterior door and rear quarter panels. The plastic enables these items to spring back into shape following low-speed impacts.

Usage
Nanoparticle technology is being used in the automotive industry to protect engines and enable them to perform better.
Ford, for example, is using a device called the Local Electrode Atom Probe to conduct research into making metals and plastics lighter and stronger. The device works at the atomic scale and is useful for removing atoms from metallic surfaces and locating the atom position on those surfaces.
Nanoparticles are also being used as ‘fillers’ for metals and plastics to increase the strength of produced materials and reduce their weight in the process. Ford’s ‘Atoms to Engines’ team looked at the structure of cast aluminium alloys at near atomic levels. A detailed analysis of the structure, property and process relationship of the aluminium alloy engine blocks led to reduced engine weight, which in turn resulted in increased fuel efficiency.
Researchers are looking into ways in which Nanoparticles can be added to glass and paints to enable them to better withstand radiation and provide self-cleaning mechanisms.
Nanostructured surfaces result in improved paint adhesion and colour durability. It is no surprise then the Ford Motor Company has predicted that by 2015, nanomaterials will be used in 70 percent of its production materials. The move could likely position the company as a leader of the automotive industry once again. This is how big it is.

Clean technology
Nanotechnology’s many applications in clean technology range from solar panels to EV batteries. A report from Lux Research sees a $29 billion clean tech nanotechnology market in 2015.
Considering its features and what it has to offer, there seems no doubt that potential for nanotechnology in the manufacturing processes of electric cars is immense.
To exemplify, Lithium ion batteries are currently being intensively developed across the world for use in electric vehicles. Nanotechnology promises to improve the performance and the life-times of these batteries.
Additionally, it also has the potential to enhance the energy and power density, shorten the recharge time, as well as decrease the size and weight while improving safety and stability of the batteries.
“Nanotechnologies can further enable some sci-fi concepts for future vehicles, such as collisionless auto-driving cars, shape-shifting cars, and solar power cars. Its potential truly is astounding,” points out Xie.

BY: Rebecca D'Souza

Friday, February 11, 2011

Nanotechnology and Automotive in future business

Nanotechnology Implementation in the Automotive Sector: Big Opportunities in the Small

There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom."

This statement by the late physicist Richard Feynman 42 years ago started a revolution that has taken the industrial world by storm. Nanotechnology has given flight to visions both probable and hyped.

The potential of nanotechnology in the automotive industry remains largely untapped - only recently has this sector become receptive to nanotechnology concepts. The automotive industry is an avid user of technology, meaning that it has great potential for the implementation of nanotechnology solutions and products, but these are still mostly in the research and development stage.


What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is the engineering of materials on the scale of 1 nanometer (nm) to 100 nm, a nanometer being 1 billionth of a meter. At this level, the basic physical laws governing macro objects undergo a drastic change. A macro particle is a cluster of atoms arranged together in random order. The formation of the structure is left to nature, and control over the properties of the material is difficult. Nanotechnology, on the other hand, is a bottom-up approach where materials are created by placing individual atoms together. This decreases the randomness in the structural formation, enabling significant control over the properties of the material. Mechanical properties such as strength, ductility, and resilience can all be incorporated into one material.

Currently, nanotechnology is functioning as an enabling technology. It is being used to enhance the properties of existing materials. This is largely attributed to the fact that the technology has clearly not been understood and there is still much more to nanotechnology than meets the microscopic eye.

Nanotechnology Revenue
Nanotechnology has high revenue potential, with some estimates projecting revenues across all industries to reach $1 trillion by 2015. The automotive industry currently accounts for just over $1 billion, about 5 percent of the revenues generated from nanotechnology across all sectors. The tire sector currently account for over 95% of nanomaterials in the automotive industry, in the form or carbon black.

Nanotechnology is clearly in the infancy stage of its product life cycle, with positive returns on investments expected in the medium and long term. Frost & Sullivan projects nanotechnology revenues in the automotive industry to reach $6.5 billion in 2015. Upcoming applications are paints and coatings, and lightweight structures. These are expected to account for 43 percent and 26 percent of revenues in 2015, respectively.

Chart 1 presents Frost & Sullivan's projection for nanotechnology revenues generated in the automotive sector.

Potential Applications in the Automotive Sector
The nanotechnology concept was a part of the automotive industry even before the word "nanotechnology" was coined. Carbon black, a kind of nanomaterial, has been used by the tire industry since the early 1980s as an essential material in tire treads. The recent launch of nanotechnology-based paint in Mercedes vehicles has made the industry aware of the benefits of the technology, and what automakers stand to gain from its implementation. Nanotechnology-based paints are scratch proof and have better aesthetic appeal than conventional paints. Nanotechnology has potential applications in coatings and functional surfaces. Surfaces can be made to have characteristics such as the easy-cleaning property of the Lotus Effect. The Lotus Effect stems from the lotus itself, which has a surface that is naturally hydrophobic. Water droplets roll off the leaf's surface, leaving it practically dry. Moreover, water droplets carry dirt from the surface with them, making the surface self-cleaning. This effect arises because lotus leaves have a very fine surface structure and are coated with hydrophobic wax crystals of around 1 nm in diameter.

Nanotechnology has also made a foray into the area of fuel additives. Nanomaterials in fuel additives enable complete combustion, improving fuel economy and reducing harmful emissions such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Nanomaterials remain suspended in the fuel, enhancing their effectiveness. Conventional additives tend to sink to the bottom of the tank.

Nanomaterials can also be used as catalysts in catalytic converters. Used in conjunction with rare metals such as platinum, palladium and zirconium, nanomaterials reduce the quantity of rare metals needed. Excellent catalysts though these metals are, they are very expensive. Conventional catalysts have a working temperature of about 125 degrees centigrade (C), with virtually no effect before attaining this temperature. This especially is a concern in cold climates, where catalytic converters take longer to warm up. Nanomaterials, on the other hand, can operate at temperatures ranging from -4 degrees C to 500 degrees C, making them effective in all climates and weather conditions. A nanomaterial costs 679 times less than platinum, so the implementation of nanomaterials is a win-win situation for manufacturers and consumers both.

Nanomaterials also can be used for the catalysts and electrodes in fuel cells, making these devices more cost effective. Automotive fuel cells themselves are still in a very nascent stage, and nanotechnology in the automotive fuel cell sector is virtually non-existent. Major use of nanotechnology in fuel cells is expected only from 2008 on - currently, the focus primarily is on research and development.

At present, micro-electromechanical structures (MEMS) are used in a number of automotive sensors. The potential of nanotechnology in this sector remains virtually untapped because nanotechnology structures are expensive compared to conventional structures. The needs of the sensor market are fulfilled by conventional products, which are more cost effective. However, a change is foreseen in this predicament, with tire pressure monitoring legislation demanding better sensors than the ones used at present.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) also can expect a revolution due to nanotechnology. Quantum dots are playing a vital role in this area, with their potential for a wider spectrum of light at relatively low cost. Quantum dots can help bring down the price of LEDs, and are likely to drive the LED light market for the automotive industry long term.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nanotechnology and the Automobile


When people think about technologies, they often either think of computers or automobiles. So whenever nanotechnology gets discussed, it always becomes necessary to say how it will impact our automobiles.
The answers arenâ''t very exciting. I recall that the big application that was touted in those heady days after the NNI was launched in 2001 was the use by General Motors of nanoclay-TPO composites in exterior steps for vans resulting in a 7-8% weight saving, a smoother surface and enhanced scratch resistance.

Then you got the more detailed examinations that included nanocomposites in polycarbonate automotive glazing, or nanocomposites for high-barrier plastics for fuel tanks and fuel systems.

The list can go on like this, but you get the pointâ'¿I hope. What weâ''re talking about here is just incremental advances in composite materials. Not particularly exciting, and itâ''s not as if these nanomaterials were specifically engineered for these applications.

But the fascination with the automobile is a strong one, and it has almost become obligatory to mention the car whenever you utter the word â''nanotechnologyâ''.

Along these lines, in the latest issue of Nanotechnology Law & Business they provided a link to an article entitled â''Top Ten Ways Nanotechnology Will Impact Life in the Next Ten Yearsâ''. So, of course, I was intrigued, and sure enough the automobile was included.

What was interesting about how they approached it was not the mention of nanotechnology enabling low-emission automobiles, but using the example of Oxonica and its liquid-based catalyst that reduces emissions for diesel fuels, EnviroxTM.

Whatâ''s interesting about this example is that it has nearly ruined the company. In testing of the Envirox product in diesel engines in Turkey conducted by Petrol Ofisi, the Turkish national oil-and-gas company, the results were disappointing. Oxonica claimed at the time that further tests had to be run, but any way you cut it the future of the Turkish deal looks as though it is finished.

This is not to say nano-enabled fuel-borne catalysts wonâ''t reduce emissions in diesel fuels, but the Oxonica example seems to be a poor one.

But the need to equate nanotechnology to the automobile gets really weird in the hands of futurists. At the recent LA Autoshow designs were submitted for the car that will exist in 2057. Nanotechnology figured prominently with Mercedes-Benz offering up the â''Silver Flowâ'' that will utilize micro-metallic particles that can be rearranged via magnetic fields into any form you choose. Hmmhâ'¿not exactly lighter weight composites for steps on a mini-van.

Taken From : http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nanotechnology: Futuristic Green Cars

What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is a branch of engineering that deals with design using very small particles and with the manipulation of individual molecules. The size of the particle is 1X10-9 meters. This will reduce the size of an machines and give more efficiency.

What is the use of nanotechnology in Automobile?
In future because of this tiny technology the materials used in cars will replaced by the nano materials, which will reduse the weight of the Car but it is strong enough like as of current materials. Because of this weight loss the efficiency of the Car will increase it will reduce the emissions.

Will Rodgers, director of General Motors' Materials and Process Laboratory, said his company has used nano materials on several vehicles. The center console for the Chevrolet HHR compact wagon, for example, uses high-tech plastic.

In Future the windshield is coated with the material that fills the microscopic nooks and crannies on windshields, making those surfaces perfectly smooth. When a person drives during a rainstorm, the rain naturally falls away, reducing or even eliminating the need for wipers. So this windshield resists water, dirt, salt and bird droppings.

Nanotechnology Unfolds Futuristic Green Cars

Recently, automakers have unleashed their environment-friendly concept cars that are expected to be manufactured using nanotechnology. The latter is a technology of building tiny machines using functional systems at a molecular scale. According to experts, nanotechnology, in its original sense, means projected ability to assemble items from the bottom up, utilizing techniques and tools being developed these days to make complete, high performance products.

LA Design Challenge: Green Cars of the Future

Doc Brown would have been proud. Nine automakers have submitted entries in the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show’s Design Challenge, a competition aimed at conceiving a futuristic car that’s environmentally friendly, by both design and fuel source, and can be recycled after five years on the road. It’s the third such competition sponsored by the auto show, and all entries are strictly two-dimensional. Judges choose a winner based on originality, environmentalism, safety and how well it reflects Southern California’s “green” lifestyle.

For details on the winner, stay tuned for our full L.A. Auto Show coverage coming at the end of November. For now, here’s a sneak peek.

Acura FCX 2020 Le Mans:
Try saying it six times fast. The Le Mans looks like the Batmobile, but uses lightweight, recyclable materials. A hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain propels it to take on a future 24 Hours of Le Mans, while molecular nanotechnology allows lightweight construction.
Thumbs up: Motors in each wheel assist the hydrogen powertrain, effectively creating AWD.
Thumbs down: Drivers must lie flat on their stomachs.

Audi Dynamic Space Frame:
The Space Frame has built-in channels to facilitate an elaborate drive-by-fluid system. That’s right: Instead of a traditional mechanical linkage between the steering and the wheels, there’s a fluid coupling. The car’s suspension also features liquid portions that are electrically charged to alter the car’s ride.

Thumbs up: The minimal overhangs and gigantic wheels project an athletic stance.
Thumbs down: The suspension concept exists today, but the fluid driveshaft seems like a giant torque converter – hardly the stuff of efficiency.


Hummer O2:
GM’s California design studios say the O2 has a net positive effect on the environment thanks to its algae-filled panels, which turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. Other features include a fuel cell drivetrain and parts made from post-consumer recycled materials.

Thumbs up: Hydraulic motors power all four wheels, and carbon dioxide from each motor is routed toward the algae.
Thumbs down: The algae need to be changed annually. We doubt Jiffy Lube will offer a $29.99 special.



Honda Extreme:
Honda’s Extreme can take on different forms – from a pickup truck to a low-slung sports car – thanks to interchangeable body panels. After five years, the polycarbonate chassis can be recycled.

Thumbs up: Evolving body styles on the same car? Sign us up.
Thumbs down: Sheet-metal makeovers come courtesy of Honda Sustainability Centers, which look like miniature airport terminals with hokey status readouts like “transforming” and “transformation complete.”

Mercedes-Benz RECY:
The RECY, an open-air roadster that looks like it took a few cues from the 1980s SL, offers wood, alloy, glass and rubber materials said to be 100 percent recyclable. A BlueTec diesel engine provides power. Design inspiration came from wooden yachts and sunglasses, Mercedes says.

Thumbs up: Unlike many objects of automotive inspiration, these things actually show up in the concept. The two-frame windshield looks like a pair of Oakleys, and the body has a nautical profile.
Thumbs down: A long aluminum brace splits the two seats. Seems like it could put a crunch on shoulder room.

MINI Biomoke:
The Biomoke sports biodegradable paneling infused with palm tree seeds. When the car expires, the panels compost and the seeds sprout. There are no windows – Mini says the open-air cockpit is best for Southern California’s temperate climate. And like Mini’s real cars, the Biomoke’s exterior can be customized to fit its owner’s tastes.

Thumbs up: We’re still chuckling about the palm tree seeds.
Thumbs down: Temperate climate notwithstanding, a mile on the 405 without a windshield could bury drivers in grit.



Kia Sandstorm:
Kia says its two-seat runabout can hit the beach or navigate through highway traffic. Its aluminum safety cage protects occupants, while cargo space can accommodate a barbecue. Power comes from a biodiesel hybrid engine with plug-in electric capability and recyclable batteries.

Thumbs up: It looks like a genuine dune buggy, so it’s sure to be a hit at the beach.
Thumbs down: We’re all for minimizing waste, but having detachable recycling bins inside the cabin seems a bit overboard.


Toyota RLV:
The Renewable Lifestyle Vehicle seats two, one behind the other. Power comes from an electric powertrain or bicycle-style pedals, the latter for situations like bumper-to-bumper traffic. A pop-up roll cage and active headrests aim to protect occupants during a rollover, and the floorboard is made from bamboo and aluminum.

Thumbs up: Pedaling recharges the battery, and the wheels telescope outward for better high-speed stability.
Thumbs down: Since you’re giving him a lift, there ought to be an extra set of pedals for the passenger.


Volkswagen Nanospyder:
The Nanospyder uses billions of spore-like nanobots – complete with eyeballs, mouths and tiny VW logos – that bind together to create the vehicle. Impending collisions can be picked up by the lead bots, and the information can be sent elsewhere to bolster certain sections of the vehicle.

Thumbs up: Hands down, Nanospyder is the coolest name here.
Thumbs down: Stability depends on these little critters getting along. What happens when you’re doing 65 on an overpass and the bots holding the wheels together decide to mutiny?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

NanoEngineer - MarkIII(k) Planetary Gears


This is the MarkIII(k), a planetary gear created by K. Eric Drexler. A planetary gear couples an input shaft via a sun gear to an output shaft through a set of planet gears (attached to the output shaft by a planet carrier). The planet gears roll between the sun gear and a ring gear on the inner surface of a casing. The animation below was produced from a NanoEngineer-1 molecular dynamics simulation. A section of the casing atoms have been hidden to expose the internal gearing assembly.


Planetary gears are attractive targets for molecular modeling because (with careful choice of planet numbers and sun- and ring-gear symmetries) the overall symmetry of the system virtually guarantees low energy barriers along the desired motion coordinate. They also pack considerable complexity into a small structure.

Planetary gears are common mechanical systems used for speed reduction (= torque multiplication). Macroscale versions are found in automobile transmissions, electric screwdrivers, and Mars landers.

The MarkIII(k) gear updates an early 1990s design by Drexler and Merkle, modified to reduce interactions between the sun gear and the bases of the planet gears. The original version was designed with very small moving parts in order to fit the computational constraints of the time. The planet gears are near the lower limits of diameter for functional gear components, and because of this, the "gear teeth" in this system are better thought of as smooth, low-amplitude corrugations in the gear surfaces.



The single covalent (sigma) bonds linking each of the nine planet gears to the carrier gear are easily seen in this POV-Ray image.


This information is collected from the bellow website
http://www.nanoengineer-1.com/content/

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Bangalore, karnataka, India
Engineer in Genaral Motors India.