Honda F1 website

AUGUST 24, 2005

Nanotechnological advances in F1?

Nanotechnology is the creation and use of materials, devices and systems in the nanometre range. In short, microscopic technology (one nanometre being one millionth of a millimetre). Nanotechnology has already had an enormous impact on electronics but scientists in America and Australia now believe that they have developed a material which would be brilliant for the construction of Formula 1 cars.

In an article in Science magazine, the scientists from Rice University in Houston, Texas and from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Melbourne, Australia, argue that sheets of the material made from nanotubes (miniscule carbon tubes with extraordinary strength) could soon be used in F1. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) are tiny cylinders of carbon atoms that have 100 times the strength of steel (and a sixth of its weight) and have been proven to conduct electricity better than copper. The material is self-supporting and transparent and has been shown to have solar cells capabilities which could mean that they would be able to produce electricity. These amazing properties obviously have applications in aerospace and the military and in a variety of other industries (for example they could be used to create clothes which repel dirt) and it makes perfect sense that they could also be used in F1 where the location of weight is of vital importance.

"We could see this on Formula 1 cars by next season.," says racing enthusiast Andrew Barron, Professor of Materials Science in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University. "This is a jumping-off point for a technology a lot of people will pursue."