Recently, nanotechnology has been widely applied in the automotive industry to introduce new functionalities and enhance performance. Nanotechnology applications in cars can provide better strength and durability compared to traditional materials. They also offer new and easy methods and tools for controlling or modifying certain structures and properties in manufacturing materials. Nanotechnology brings numerous applications to improve the automotive industry. Here are some brief highlights of these applications:
Paints and Coatings:
Nanotechnology has improved the properties of paints and coatings used in car manufacturing. The development of “scratch-resistant coatings” using high-transparency and high-hardness nanoscale particles is one example. Nanoscale filler materials are integrated with transparent coating particles to form a protective layer that is usually applied over the standard car paint. This coating protects the car from UV damage and provides a tough shield against scratches. It is expected that advanced techniques will enable self-healing capabilities to repair any damage occurring to the car’s surface. It is also believed to be resistant to dirt.
There are also new paints for walls that resist heat, humidity, and salts, which have been produced using nanotechnology. These paints have started entering the markets of Arab countries and Middle Eastern countries through various Japanese, Korean, and European companies.
The developed paints and coatings using nanotechnology offer several advantages, including scratch resistance, corrosion resistance, and durability. Originally, these coatings were developed for use as ship and marine coatings. It is known that coatings continuously exposed to saltwater lose their quality and properties after a relatively short period, resulting in additional maintenance costs. This is not the case with nanocoatings.
Interior and Exterior Components:
Many automotive parts, such as doors, seats, bumpers, and tires, have been developed and improved using nanotechnology. These enhanced parts possess advantages such as high strength, hardness, flexibility, and lightweight. They provide significant benefits in terms of fuel efficiency, driver and passenger safety, and security. The advancements in nanotechnology will also enter battery production for vehicles, increasing their lifespan four times while maintaining lightweight properties.
The use of certain nanoscale particles in manufacturing a new type of glass for cars known as “smart glass” or “self-cleaning glass” has been achieved. These nanoscale particles can interact with ultraviolet radiation, causing them to vibrate. This vibration helps remove deposits, dirt particles, and dust that adhere to the glass surface. Additionally, bullet-resistant glass with low cost and high efficiency can be produced by using nanofibers.
Producing Advanced Cars Using Nanotechnology
Although this vision is still far from reality, nanotechnology has already become a real and highly promising technology for improving cars in the coming years. Automakers are constantly seeking ways to reduce vehicle weight as a method to increase fuel efficiency. Nanotechnology will indeed be capable of providing further weight improvements in addition to increasing the strength of car components.
Some engineers are exploring the possibility of manufacturing an entire car using nanotechnology. Billions of tiny nanomachines can be used to shape vehicles and then break down to be ready for reuse in a new vehicle.