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Home > Press > When size matters: Nanotechnology for energy efficiency

Abstract:
New research at the University of Leicester is using nanotechnology to create energy efficient materials.

When size matters: Nanotechnology for energy efficiency

UK | Posted on June 16th, 2011

With the increasing worldwide demand for energy there is a pressure to use the finite energy resources wisely whilst reducing one of the major areas of energy consumption, transportation, which accounts for more than 20% of the world's total primary energy and produces much of the world's pollution.

Alternative fuels, such as bio-fuels, hydrogen fuels, fuel cells and electric batteries, being developed by the automotive industry need further development and a considerable time for their full adaptation into transportation, including passenger cars, trucks, aircrafts and trains.

A postgraduate researcher with the Department of Engineering, Sinan Kandemir is fabricating light and strong resistant materials with nano-additives to create lighter components for automotive and aerospace industries that will help improve energy efficiency, minimise CO2 emissions and preserve the environment.

By using a novel processing technique, ultrasonic method, to disperse aluminium-based nano-particles homogenously through the liquid, his research promises quicker results while the industry is making advances with alternative fuels.

Kandemir explained:

"The Kyoto agreement and the European Commission suggest that the automotive manufacturers should reduce their vehicle weight to minimise CO2 emissions and conserve finite oil (fossil fuel) reserves.

"Although light materials, including aluminium and magnesium, have been proposed to replace denser materials, such as steel in the automotive industry, they exhibit low strength. Nano-sized ceramic particles can be incorporated into light metals to modify the physical properties of established materials in a huge variety of automotive components.

"These nano-composite materials save weight and offer greater performance whilst contributing to the fuel efficiency and reducing green house gases released into the atmosphere."

Kandemir is supervised by an internationally renowned engineer, Head of the Mechanics of Materials Group in the Department of Engineering, Professor Helen Atkinson FREng, who commented:

"Nanocomposites are fascinating materials with potentially excellent properties. I am very much looking forward to the overall results of the project".

This research is being presented at the Festival of Postgraduate Research on Thursday, 16 June. The annual one-day exhibition of postgraduate research offers organisations and the public the opportunity to meet the next generation of innovators and cutting-edge researchers. More than 50 University of Leicester students will explain the real world implications of their research in an engaging and accessible way. The event is open to the public and free to attend. More information at www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ssds/sd/pgrd/fpgr

####

About University of Leicester
All departments assessed by the Quality Assurance Agency over the last four years have been rated as excellent. No other university can equal this success. This complements the strong research ratings achieved in the Higher Education Funding Council for England's (HEFCE) Research Assessment Exercise. At Leicester, research and teaching go hand in hand providing students with the opportunity to work with experts at the forefront of knowledge in their respective fields. The University has one of the highest student completion rates and exceeds the benchmark set by HEFCE. Our graduates have gone into careers as varied as medicine, engineering, financial services, law, computing, sales and marketing, scientific research, public service and teaching. Many of our graduates have chosen to go on to further study both here and elsewhere. In 2001, 2002 & 2003 the Financial Times placed Leicester at the top of their league for taught postgraduate education. The table is based on levels of provision at UK universities. The University works closely with business and industry and, particularly in the fields of Medicine, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, has established links with company research and development programmes. We have an international reputation for research in a wide range of areas including archaeology, English local history, criminology, sport and society, and mass communications.

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