Honda has been working on a new technology that could lead to a breakthrough in vehicle development. Initial research by the firm, joined with scientists at Purdue University and the University of Louisville, has shown that microscopic carbon nanotubes may be capable of distributing electricty quicker and more efficiently.
The nanotubes may also be used to create a material that is at least as light as carbon fiber, but stronger than steel.
Researchers currently grow the carbon nanotubes on metal nanoparticles. The carbon nanotubes form "rolled honeycomb sheets with carbon atoms" at the ends. The initial research has shown that the nanotubes are 100,000 times thinner than strands of human hair. "When these tiny carbon nanotubes exhibit metallic conductivity they possess extraordinary strength compared to steel, higher electrical properties than copper, are as efficient in conducting heat as a diamond and are as light as cotton," according to a press release.
Honda forsees the new technology affecting the production of batteries, cables, fuel cells, and solar cells, which could lead to more efficient vehicles. They also believe the findings could lead to advancements in artificial muscles, robotics, and supercapacitors, to name a few.
"Our goal is not only the creation of new and better technologies and products, but to fulfill Honda's commitment to environment sustainability," wrote Honda Research Institute USA project director Dr. Hideaki Tsuru.
Please see press release below for further details.