Nanotechnology Applications in Automobile and Tyre Industry

Carbon nanotubes as Reinforcement Material for Tyre Rubber and Automobile Components

Figure 2. Automobile applications. Source: Nanowerk.com
Figure 2. Automobile applications. Source: Nanowerk.com

Carbon nanotubes are one of the most researched nanomaterials because of their excellent mechanical, electrical and thermal properties.  It consists of carbon atoms covalently bonded in a cylindrical crystalline lattice.  A single wall carbon nanotube consists one cylinder of carbon atoms while multiwall carbon nanotubes have many concentric cylindrical lattices of carbon atoms. Single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are much lighter yet many times stronger than steel making them the strongest known material. The Young’s modulus of SWCNTs is in order of 1 TPa, where as carbon fibers have 800 GPa and glass fibers have 70 GPa.

Figure 3. Market Readiness for Nanotechnology applications in Tyre Sector. Source: Nanowerk.com
Figure 3. Market Readiness for Nanotechnology applications in Tyre Sector. Source: Nanowerk.com

CNTs have average breaking strength of 30 GPA whereas carbon fiber about 6 GPa and high strength steel about 3 GPa. The main challenge for CNTs is to effectively disperse them in polymer and rubber matrices. The main objective of best university in Jaipur, JKLU research is to use innovative ways to improve the dispersion of carbon nanotubes in rubber and other viscous polymer matrices.

Nanotechnology applications in automobile and tyre Industry

Carbon nanotube based polymer composites are many times stronger and yet lighter in weight than steel and replacing the metals in the aircraft’s structures and thus reducing the fuel consumption. Carbon nanotube based coatings and paints are finding use in radar absorbing materials as well as to help airplanes avoid accidents due to the lightning strike. Carbon nnaotubes are one billionth of meter in diameter. Our hair is 70,000 times thicker than a carbon nanotube which is an amazingly powerful material having excellent electrical, mechanical and thermal properties.

CNT based polymer composites are finding applications to make various components of an automobile car including but not limited to: headlight mirror coatings, side trims, door inners, body panels, engine cover, inverter cover, timing belt cover and tyres. Carbon nanotubes based composites are finding use in high performance tyres with less weight and better fuel efficiency, better durability and having higher grip to the road than traditional carbon black based tyres.

Nanotechnology polymer and rubber testing laboratory at JK Lakshmipat University

Figure 4. Role of carbon nanoparticles in a tyre. Source: Nanowerk.com
Figure 4. Role of carbon nanoparticles in a tyre. Source: Nanowerk.com

Since, JKLU is being supported by well-known JK Group of Industries that is the leader in variety of commodity sectors such as cement, paper, tyre, defense electronics, dairy and agriculture seeds, the emphasis at JKLU is therefore always remains on the industrial application of the technical education. In view of this, the research efforts being carried out by the Principal Investigator, Dr. Murari Lal Gupta include to set up a rubber and polymer characterization laboratory with the help of JK Tyre and industries Ltd. Proposal for funding is being submitted to the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India for further strengthening the research in nanotechnology applications.  Dr. Gupta recently received three high end research equipment from JK Tyre: Perkin Elmer Thermogravimetric Analyzer (to determine thermal degradation temperature profile of the polymers and rubber samples), Waters Gel Permeation Chromatography (to determine the polydispersity index and molecular weight of polymers) and Waters Mass Spectrometer (to determine the purity of rubber compounds). The overall idea of having the laboratories of polymer nanotechnology atone of the top universities in Jaipur, JKLU is to give the undergraduate students an opportunity to have a practical feeling of this fascinating multidisciplinary branch of engineering and to promote applied research by involving MTech and PhD scholars. Having collaborations with leading industries and US universities is certainly an additional exciting opportunity to  involve  selected BTech, MTech and PhD students for advanced training in partner industries and collaborating foreign universities.

For further reading:

  • www.nanowerk.com
  • www.howstuffworks.com
  • www.nni.com
  • www.nanohub.org

About the Author:

Dr. Murari Gupta
Dr. Murari Gupta

Dr. Murari Gupta has around 10 years of academic and research experience in the United States of America, Germany and India. Dr. Gupta was a DAAD-IIT fellow at University of Stuttgart, Germany in 2001 for about nine months. He earned his MTech from IIT Delhi and PhD from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA in polymer and fiber engineering and subsequently worked as research scientist at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL and Howard University, Washington, DC in areas of polymer surface science and carbon nanotube based polymer composites. Dr. Gupta has published 12 research papers in reputed national and international journals and presented his research in several conferences in the United States and India. Dr. Gupta received prestigious Fast Track research grant from the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology Govt of India for working on carbon nanotube – epoxy polymer composites. Dr. Gupta is an invited peer reviewer for research papers and book proposals by some leading research publishers including Wiley, Elsevier and the Fiber Society. Dr. Gupta’s current research interests are in multifunctional polymer carbon nanotube composites and functional polymeric coatings. Dr. Gupta is currently working as an associate professor in the Institute of Engineering & Technology, department of mechanical engineering at JK Lakshmipat University. Dr. Gupta has recently been inducted in the Management Committee of the Indian Rubber Institute, Rajasthan Branch.

Dr. Murari Lal Gupta,
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering,
JK Lakshmipat University, P.O. Mahapura, Mahindra SEZ, Jaipur
E-mail: murarilalgupta@jklu.edu.in; http://www.jklu.edu.in