A new project led by the University of Sunderland will examine the potential of wonder material graphene for applications in the car industry.
Launched during the Graphene Week 2014, the iGCAuto project brings together research institutions and companies from five European countries. The consortium will study graphene and its properties and look into possible uses of the wonder material in advanced composites for future safer vehicles.
“Graphene has tremendous applications for the automotive industry and using it to enhance the composite materials in cars has so much potential,” said Ahmed Elmarakbi, Professor of Automotive Engineering at Sunderland’s Department of Computing, Engineering and Technology.
“The development of novel graphene-based materials and their potential applications in the automotive industry are the main focus of the iGCAuto project. Using graphene-based materials in the fabrication of nanocomposites with different polymer matrices will be investigated, modelled, and designed to enhance both vehicle and occupant safety; yet remain very light,” he said.
It is believed light composite materials are the future of the automotive industry. However, concerns persist about the safety and reliability of such light materials as lives of people could depend on them during traffic accidents. Graphene, consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms and providing unprecedented mechanical characteristics, could offer the desired solution.
“This material will provide benefits such as improved strength, dimensional stability and better thermal behaviour, better flame behaviour (active as flame retardant and for reducing the emission of smoke), and superior durability,” Professor Elmarakbi said.
Partners involved in the iGCAuto project include Centro Ricerche FIAT (Italy), Fraunhofer ICT (Germany), Interquimica (Spain), Nanesa S.r.l. (Italy), and Delta-Tech S.p.A. (Italy).