Nanotechnology is still a science that lives largely in the realm created by Hollywood. Sure, there are practical, real-world applications right now and more on the horizon, but for the most part they're not the nanobots-swimming-in-your-blood type. They're more the nanotubes-invisibly-strengthening-your-gadgets type, which isn't quite as sexy. But that may soon change, as a conference to be held next week will focus on the application of nanotech to motorsports.
Held by the Centre of Excellence in Metrology for Micro and Nanotechnologies, the Nanotechnology Innovations for High Performance Motorsport Event 2010 will take a close look at how motorsports, in particular big-budget Formula 1, can benefit from innovation in nanotechnology. They apparently won't be investigating why a conference about sub-microscopic materials requires a name that would break an elephant's back.
So, aside from the massive R&D budgets, why focus on F1 for nanotech innovation in motorsports? Because of the tiny margins. Excluding the three new teams this year, the grid is typically within just a second or two from front to back, so any performance edge within the rules is worth chasing. The nanotech industry believes it has potential to enhance lubricants, fuels, microprocessors that control the incredibly complex machines, as well as enhance safety and performance through greater strength and resistance to fatigue in the composites that form the chassis and aerodynamic elements.
In a way, the pairing of nanotech and F1 is a no-brainer. And, as with many of the technologies that find their initial funding and research driven by motorsport, we can expect at least some of the nanotech developments brought about over the next few years to eventually trickle down into the production realm, making cars on the street more efficient, quicker, and safer as well.
Hit up the link below for the official announcement, including a link to the event flyer. You'll need to flex those bonus miles if you're looking to attend, though--it's being held at Cranfield University near Milton Keynes in the U.K.