Nanotechnology and Automotive Parts: Current Status and Future Prospects


Damian Sobrevilla NEI Corporation

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This article explores the present impact of nanotechnology (mostly nanomaterials so far) on the consumer automotive market. Our attempt throughout the paper has been to situate technical aspects of nanotechnology as they pertain to the automotive market in a business context. The initial part of the paper describes some early successes of nanomaterials embraced by the industry, bearing in mind that the market entrants are few and far apart. This includes a description of technology developments in the area of coatings, particularly the outer body clearcoat, and a summary of bulk nanostructured materials, specifically polymer–clay nanocomposites for noncritical automotive body parts. Even though the aftermarket is a smaller component of the overall market, several new products for the aftermarket have begun to appear, ostensibly incorporating nanotechnology. The section, Potential Applications, briefly describes a number of research and development activities that are in various stages of testing and qualification.