Ford's Nanotech Future

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
fords nanotech future

Wired Magazine's Autopia blog reports on Ford's use of nanotechnology to lighten cars and improve fuel efficiency. Ford announced its efforts to harness the manipulation of materials properties at the atomic level at the 2008 SAE Conference, estimating 70 percent of its automotive materials will be modified or redefined by nanotechnology by 2015. Fords says its nano-scientists (speciality, not size) are working to reduce vehicle weight by 250 to 750 pounds across the board. Ford will also be exploringnanotechnology to create brighter, non-chipping, heat-dissipating paint and improved alloys for engine castings. A German Ford lab has already developed a nano-coating spray which could replace cast-iron cylinder liners. Bringing the cost down on such bleeding-edge developments will be a major issue. But Ford's goal of significantly lightening its entire fleet is laudable. Lighter cars are more efficient, handle better and accelerate faster… Who doesn't want more of that?

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  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Apr 18, 2008

    Automakers have been using nanotechnology in this way for years. It's called metallography and it was invented over 100 years ago.

  • Geggamoya Geggamoya on Apr 18, 2008

    All cars including the T&C could be made a lot lighter. And it would improve pretty much every aspect of the cars. Some small cars, VAG models at least, in europe are designed with improved aerodynamics, longer gear ratios and fitted with skinnier tires and lighter wheels at the factory and sold as some kind of eco-version. Usually with a small turbodiesel. No weightloss though, apart from the wheels.

  • MattVA MattVA on Apr 18, 2008

    RedStapler, using aluminum frames is a great way to reduce weight, but it is expensive. And not just the material costs, but it is much hard to work with aluminum. For example, the XJ frame is held together with rivets and adhesive. No welds. Still, it would be interesting to see a cost comparison between how much an aluminum frame car would cost with mileage benefits vs. a steel car with a hybrid or diesel engine.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Apr 18, 2008

    Look to stir friction welding to bring down the cost of working with aluminum in the next few years.