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February 2010
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Materials News

CNT-based composite material to drive cars
Advanced Composites Group (ACG), part of the Composites Division of Umeco, is engaged in a EUR3.4 million project to develop a new composite material that could power a car.

In the three year project, which is funded by the European Union, researchers from Imperial College London and their European partners, including Volvo, Nanocyl and ACG, are developing a prototype material that will be lightweight and strong enough to be used for car body parts and also discharge sufficient electrical energy to power a car. With assistance from ACG, they are also planning to investigate the most effective method for manufacturing the composite material at an industrial level.

Ultimately, they expect that this material could be used in hybrid petrol/electric vehicles to make them lighter, more compact and more energy efficient, enabling drivers to travel for longer distances before needing to recharge their cars. The researchers say that the car of the future could be drawing power from its roof, bonnet or even the door, using the new composite material.

For the first stage of the project, the scientists are planning to further develop ACG’s composite materials so that they can store more energy. The team will improve the material’s mechanical properties by growing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on the surface of the carbon fibres. This should increase the surface area of the material, and also improve its capacity to store more energy.

ACG specialises in the manufacture of high performance pre-impregnated (prepreg) advanced fibre reinforced composite materials. Its carbon fibre and glass fibre reinforcements, which are pre-impregnated with specially formulated epoxy, cyanate ester or bismaleimide resin matrixes, are used in woven and stitched fabrics or as unidirectional tape formats across a diverse range of industries.

 
 
 
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