Nanometals pave way for lighter, safer cars

Super strong nanometals are beginning to play an important role in making cars even lighter.

Washington: Super strong nanometals are beginning to play an important role in making cars even lighter, and now a student has discovered a new phenomenon that could speed up the practical application of nanometals.

Super strong nanostructured metals are now entering the scene, aimed at making cars even lighter, enabling them to stand collisions in a better way without fatal consequences for the passengers.

A young PhD student from the Materials Research Division at Riso DTU has now taken the research a step further by discovering a new phenomenon.

The research task of the young student, Tianbo Yu, was to determine the stability in new nanostructured metals, which are indeed very strong, but also tend to become softer, even at low temperatures. This is due to the fact that microscopic metal grains of nanostructured metals are not stable - a problem of which Yu’s discovery now provides an explanation.

The fine structure consists of many small metal grains. The boundaries between these metal grains can move, also at room temperature. At the same time a coarsening of the structure takes place and the strength of the nanometal is consequently weakened. Yu has now shown that the boundaries of the grains can be locked, when small particles are present and that the solution is technologically feasible. This has paved the way for car components to be made of nanometals.

”We are cooperating with a Danish company and also a Danish consulting engineering company with the purpose of developing light and strong aluminium materials with a view to their application in light vehicles where especially deformation at high rate as in a collision is in focus. The new findings will be included in this work,” said Dorte Juul Jensen, head of division.

The finding has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society.


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