The University of Sunderland is leading pioneering research that has the potential to revolutionise the global automotive industry.
Working with a consortium of five research partners, the organisation will be conducting tests analysing the properties of ‘wonder material’ graphene and how it can be used to enhance advanced composite materials in the production of cars.
Graphene, which is made from a single layer of carbon atoms, is stronger than diamond, as well as being lightweight and flexible,
This could make it a good choice for creating lightweight vehicles that are also safe,
During the project, a novel graphene-based polymer material will be investigated, modelled and designed to enhance both vehicle and occupant safety while remaining very light.
The product will provide benefits such as improved strength, dimensional stability and superior durability.
The so-called iGCAuto proposal was created as part of the Graphene Flagship initiative, which has doubled in size as a result of a €9m Competitive Call.
One of 21 new proposals out of 218 to be selected for funding. the idea was the brainchild of Professor Ahmed Elmarakbi, a Professor of Automotive Engineering at the University of Sunderland’s Department of Computing, Engineering and Technology,
“Graphene has tremendous applications for the automotive industry and using it to enhance the composite materials in cars has so much potential,” he said.
“It’s an honour for the University of Sunderland to lead on a project that has been recognised though the Graphene Flagship Competitive Call, which reinforces our reputation as a leading group in international research in automotive, manufacturing and ultra-low carbon vehicle technology.”
He added that the global automotive industry was currently facing great challenges, such as CO2 emissions and safety issues.
“The development and manufacture of environmentally-friendly, energy-efficient, and safe vehicles (EESVs) is a great solution to these challenges,” he said.
“Our goal is that the future of EESVs is achieved by a combination of novel materials concepts with safety design approaches through the development and optimisation of advanced ultra-light graphene-based polymer materials, efficient fabrication and manufacturing processes, and life-cycle analysis (LCA) to reduce the environmental impact of the vehicle.
“The development of novel graphene-based materials and their potential applications in the automotive industry are the main focus of the iGCAuto project.”