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    Sectors: Automotive


    Automotive Sector

    The invention of the automobile in the late 19th century was the catalyst for the automotive sector, which has transformed the way we live, work and travel. The endless race for safer, more efficient and environmentally responsible transport is driving rapid technological advancements in the highly competitive industry. The multitude of challenges facing this sector, including environmental and resource, alongside ever-changing consumer preferences, safety regulations and cutting-edge technologies, means innovative advanced materials are more critical than ever. Goodfellow, a trusted global supplier of high-quality advanced materials and expert technical advice and services, is the ideal partner to support the constantly evolving automotive sector.  

    Automotive applications pose an incredibly challenging case for materials scientists and materials suppliers. A single automotive vehicle has a range of widely different materials, demands, and needs, all with very different technical specifications.

    One example is the creation of a Formula One test car by a student team from the Instituto Technico at the University of Lisbon. The student team faced issues to do with grounding and electrical interference in their electric vehicle due to the high operating voltage. Another problem was in the form of the bespoke electric motors that were not sufficiently lightweight or high-performance enough for the application.

    Goodfellow – a specialist supplier of high-quality materials and experts in materials science – was able to support the student team by finding material solutions to the problems they were facing.

    By implementing a highly lightweight and flexible copper mesh around the cockpit, Goodfellow was able to help the team achieve the creation of essentially a Faraday cage preventing any interferences. The mesh was an innovative solution for enabling the grounding without the introduction of a bulky and cumbersome wire network.

    For the motor, Goodfellow provided a titanium solution in the form of a 50 mm, 1-meter-long circular bar. Capable of withstanding forces up to 20,000 rpm and being magnetically inert, the bar was an ideal solution for an electric car preventing interference with the magnetic field in the motor while ensuring the necessary tensile performance.

    Together, these innovations, with the provision of materials that had passed the most stringent quality control tests, meant that the University of Lisbon team went on to create an electrically driven motor capable of operating reliability at 150 hp.


    Automotive Sector Challenges

    The automotive industry spans everything from the highest-performance Formula 1 cars to domestic vehicles, where there is an emphasis on balancing affordability and safety. A continual challenge for the automotive sector is finding lightweight materials that do not compromise tensile strength and durability.

    Lighter weight materials have the advantage of increasing the maximum speeds achievable for a given engine power and also helping improve fuel efficiency. Some of the best materials in the automotive industry for this purpose at present are alloys based on aluminium, magnesium and titanium. Composites and materials such as carbon fibre can be an excellent way of achieving excellent strength performance to ensure vehicle structural stability without the addition of the weight that steel components would add.

    Improving fuel efficiency is just one of the ways that the automotive manufacturing industry can try and achieve its carbon dioxide emission targets. Another is to find ways to improve the efficiency of the manufacturing processes themselves. With global challenges arising due to semiconductor shortages and the slowing demand for new vehicles, the automotive industry has been looking to improve the efficiency of making new components and break the dependency on complex interdependent global supply chains.

    One way of improving the availability of parts is to move to manufacturing techniques such as additive manufacturing. This change does not come without its challenges, particularly in terms of the materials required. One class of materials that have been highly promising and compatible with many additive manufacturing methods are composites, in particular, reinforce composites that offer the necessary strength for automotive applications.


    Material Opportunities in the Automotive Sector

    Familiar with the technical demands and challenges of the industry, Goodfellow offers an extensive range of materials suitable for automotive applications. For time-sensitive development and manufacture, Goodfellow offers free delivery on all in-stock items, despatched within 48 hours.

    One way of helping to achieve superior strength performance without the addition of weight is the use of metal foams. By embedding air pockets into the material structure, a low-density material can be created that has the ability to absorb large amounts of energy. This absorption could be for mechanical energy in the form of shock absorbers for their protective properties in a crash or to help damp vehicle sounds to reduce noise pollution.

    Aluminium and aluminium alloys continue to be a staple material in the automotive industry for structural components as well as a way of making lightweight engine blocks. Titanium offers a more expensive alternative, but it has shown higher tensile performance. Magnesium alloys are also becoming increasingly popular as they a significantly more affordable alternative to materials such as titanium. Magnesium alloys can now be found in many components, such as steering wheels, as they are proving to be a good compromise between keeping vehicles affordable while reducing the overall weight versus steel components.

    Graphene is one ‘wonder material’ that is starting to see increasing use in automotive applications for sensor development, with modern engines relying ever more heavily on live feedback and informatics to improve efficiency or performance.

    Contact Goodfellow today to see how its catalogue and bespoke solutions could suit your needs for lightweight, robust materials that do not require you to compromise on tensile performance.

    Related Products

    These are our most popular Automotive related products, but we have thousands more that may be just what you're after.

    If you can't find what you're looking for, please do not hesitate to contact us and discuss your requirements with our team of in house experts.

    Copper wire Purity: up to 99.999% Diameter: 1 μm - 1 mm View
    Carbon fibre Weight: from 92 g/m² Size: up to 1 x 1 m View
    Platinum foil   Size: up to 150 x 150 mm View


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