What’s the newest technology for today’s automobiles? Ironically, it involves a process that goes back more than 2,000 years! But before we go way back to the 4th Century, let’s first go back to the 19th Century.
The first modern automobile was invented in 1885, and to say the technology was primitive is being kind. These vehicles didn’t include brakes or turn signals – never mind air bags, seat belts, air-conditioning, or a stereo. In fact, it did not even have four wheels, just three; one in the front and two in the back. The four-wheeled car, which would became the prototype for what we now consider the standard automobile, was introduced a year later.
However, if you think about it, the cars of today include some of the most revolutionary innovations in history. Rear-view cameras; satellite stereos; engines run by computer operating systems; Bluetooth capabilities for all forms of technologies. What was once a utilitarian mode of transit is now a mobile office and entertainment center for many Americans.
Many wonder what the cars of the future will offer. While concepts like self-driving vehicles and alternative fuels may come to mind, some of the most exciting changes involve nanocoatings. But before we go into what nanocoatings are, let’s talk about its boundless capacities.
Fully self-repairing paint, switchable colors, energy-harvesting bodywork, and shape-shifting exteriors. All of these innovations are being discussed as happening this century. All of these incredible concepts – and more not even fathomed yet – will come from nanocoatings. In addition, nanocoatings will lead to ultra-thin, anti-glare layers for windows and mirrors; lighter and stronger materials for better fuel consumption and increased safety; and smaller, more power-efficient electronic systems. And in one of the most intriguing concepts, nanocoatings have the potential to create smart material for vehicle self-repair.
What exactly are nanocoatings?
According to Nano.gov, “Early examples of nanostructured materials were based on craftsmen’s empirical understanding and manipulation of materials. The Lycurgus Cup, a 4th Century example of dichroic glass; colloidal gold and silver in the glass allow it to look opaque green or translucent red depending on the location of the light source. Moreover, the use of nanotubes can be found in the 13th Century, Damascus sabers contained carbon nanotubes and cementite nanowires—an ultrahigh-carbon steel formulation that gave them strength, resilience, the ability to hold a keen edge.”
In today’s everyday use, nanocoatings have glass and glazed ceramic applications. Some examples of nanocoatings in your life are in showers, mirrors, sinks, as well as window and construction glass for conservatories and high-rise buildings. This technology is also part of today’s vehicles. Nanocoatings are used in automotive glass for front and side windows. A good example of this use is self-cleaning windshields, which eliminates the need for washer fluid. There are also anti-fingerprint coatings for interior and exterior mirrors.
In addition, nanocoatings are designed for people who want the outside of their car to look as good as new. They provide protection against UV rays, heat, and wear. This helps maintain the color of the vehicle, as well as protect it from sun damage.
So, as amazing as nanocoatings are already, the technology is just getting revved up! Be on the lookout for many more innovations and, if you get a chance, just consider how amazing these concepts truly are.