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materials

  • 2018 Lexus LC500h

    Alcantara, the company that makes the suede-like material of the same name, has increasingly turned away new business as it struggles to meet demand. In fact, demand for the material in automobiles has surged 15 percent over the last seven years. The company simply can't make enough of the material, Motor Trend reported last Friday, but it's not just the auto industry that craves Alcantara—the technology sector and even the yacht industry have also boarded the bandwagon. With the shortage, Alcantara CEO Andrea Boragno said he's turned away 20 percent of new business because the company...

  • Tires, by Flickr user Jayme del Rosario (Used under CC License)
    Say goodbye to flat tires thanks to a self-healing rubber from Harvard

    It's a situation drivers are all too familiar with: cruising along the road when suddenly a tire goes flat. Curse words, struggles, and inconvenience ensue. Researchers at Harvard University have developed a potential solution that could put flat tires, and the baggage that comes with them, in the...

  • Audi Le Mans prototypes, lightness through carbon fiber
    Audi: Carbon Fiber Too Expensive; Future Is In Mixing Materials

    BMW just yesterday began production of its carbon-fiber-bodied i3—a vehicle that makes some major advances in the way lightweight, mass-produced vehicles are made. But for now, BMW appears to be going it alone. For Audi, which was a leader in the development of aluminum-bodied cars 20 years...

  • An experimental CFRP hood developed for the Ford Focus
    Ford Developing Cost-Effective Methods Of Carbon Fiber Production

    Shaving pounds and even ounces off new vehicles helps to improve performance while simultaneously boosting fuel economy. While materials like aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber are both strong and light, their inherently high cost has generally excluded or limited their use in mainstream vehicles...

  • Oven used to bake carbon fiber components
    Ford And Dow Team To Develop Low Cost Carbon Fiber

    Shaving pounds off of new vehicles is essential to meeting upcoming fuel economy standards, and the best way to reduce weight without compromising strength is via the use of advanced materials. Carbon fiber, for example, is both light and incredibly strong; the downside to carbon fiber is that...

  • Audi R8 cut-away
    Next Audi R8 Due In 2014, Hybrid Carbon/Aluminum Structure: Report

    Carbon fiber is the ready answer to much of the automotive industry's weight-reducing quest, but sometimes it's not the only answer. In the case of the next Audi R8, it will be part of the answer--as will aluminum. Due in 2014, the second generation of the R8 will get a hybrid aluminum and carbon...

  • 2011 Ford Fiesta interior

    Safety isn't a glamorous subject but it's nice to know that when you put yourself and your family into a car you'll all be safe. Not just on the road, but sitting there and breathing normally, too. That's why manufacturers such as Ford are making the effort to put their cars through the rigorous TOXPROOF programme. Organized by the German road traffic organisation the TÜV, TOXPROOF testing isn't required by law, but its tests are incredibly difficult to pass, making any vehicle that does a particularly risk-free place to spend time. So what's the big deal? Is a car interior really a...

  • 2012 Audi A6 aluminum and steel construction
    Aero Aluminum Alloy To Compete With Composites, Due In Cars?

    Low weight is the golden goose of automotive technology. Everyone wants it because it brings about improvements in virtually all areas - performance, economy, handling - but engineering a car with lower weight than the one that preceeded it is difficult to do. Customers want safer, quieter and...

  • Graphene paper. Image: Lisa Aliosio
    Graphene Paper 10 Times Stronger, 6 Times Lighter Than Steel

    Nanotechnology, the study of materials and engineering on a molecular scale, has the potential to completely change the vehicles we drive. We've looked at self-healing polymers that can eliminate scratches in paintwork, plastics injected with millions of tiny air bubbles to reduce their weight...

  • Magnesium vehicle construction
    Magnesium Car Bodies: The New Steel, Carbon, Aluminum?

    Another day, another material that could lead to lighter vehicles of the future. The latest candidate? Magnesium. Magnesium componentry in cars is nothing new of course. Magnesium alloy wheels are popular in the motorsport world where light weight and impressive strength are paramount. Now...

  • d3o self-hardening gel
    d3o Bullet-Proof Gel Could Lead To Safer Cars Of The Future

    Have you ever seen the experiment using custard to demonstrate increases in viscosity with force? When you run your hand through the substance it acts like a liquid, but quickly apply a force and it hardens. Fill a swimming pool with custard and you could feasibly run across without sinking in. Wet...

  • Inrekor's lightweight aluminum and AAPRO propylene foam sandwich material
    Lightweight Aluminum-Foam Sandwich Material May Solve Porky Car Problem

    As enthusiasts, we've all decried the incessant bulking-up of our favorite vehicles over the years. Adding the necessary safety and emissions equipment to meet regulatory requirements has led to a massive increase in the average weight of most cars over the past 30 years. But a new aluminum and...

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