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CPI is home to the UK’s national centre for printable electronic technology. The key benefit offered to the automotive industry by this technology is the ability to embed displays, lighting and touch sensors into the car’s curved surfaces. We play a key role in helping companies to test and develop this technology and bring innovative applications to market.
Ultra-thin, conformable and large area printed lighting and displays can be embedded into the car body to achieve futuristic internal and external illuminations. Future vehicles will have customised interactive cabin designs, as the dashboard, central console, seats, ceiling and more will be adaptable to driver and passenger needs.
Printable electronics can easily functionalise the complicated geometries inherent in vehicle design due to the flexibility and freedom in system layout. The integration of functionality with minimal space and weight constraints means that there will be no screws, buttons and knobs protruding out into the car interior, leading to pioneering vehicle designs and low cost manufacture.
The modern consumer is seeking applications that make driving more convenient and a seamless element of their daily routines. Connected car technologies are crucial to achieving this, especially when linked to location based offerings such as traffic guidance, local retail or leisure information, as well as personalised news and entertainment.
The industry is increasingly moving towards sensor and connectivity based solutions that mimic human sensing, instructing the car as it’s driver would, making decisions based on information from the surrounding environment. Flexible printed sensors can be embedded into the vehicle to measure pressure, temperature and movement, and to monitor structural integrity. CPI has extensive expertise in the development of products incorporating printed sensing, and provides a low risk environment for companies to test and develop their sensing applications from concept to market.
Through collaborative work with our partners in research and industry, CPI is helping to develop the technologies needed to commercially realise OLED displays across a wide range of novel applications, including back lit heads up displays. In the future, using printable electronic materials, the car windscreen will incorporate transparent graphene materials which, when activated, emit light, providing dashboard or even travel and weather information in the driver’s line of sight.
Utilising our expertise in the formulation of nano-coolants, CPI works with partners to test, develop and optimise new and improved heat removal cooling fluids which can be applied to the car engine and interiors as well as the whole manufacturing supply chain. Working with CPI, companies can investigate new methods, processes and techniques for cooling technologies to prolong the lifespan of automotive components and achieve considerable reductions in energy consumption.
CPI helps to formulate a novel nanofluid which provides greater heat removal performance than current available fluids.
The overall outcome of the project concluded that the addition of metal oxide nanoparticles to a quenching fluid can significantly affect the rate of cooling and lead to significant improvements in the microstructure of the resultant quenched part. The project has shown that the rate of cooling can also be adjusted and improved upon through the selection of the metal oxide, its concentration and stabilisation package. The correct selection of metal oxide used can result in later processing steps, such as tempering, being unnecessary.