Smart materials

From macrocosm to microcosm
and back again

Smart materials

All the matter we are made of was built by the stars, all the elements from hydrogen to uranium have been made in nuclear reactions that occur in supernovae, that is those stars, much bigger than the Sun, which at the end of their existence explode and scatter into space the result of all the nuclear reactions that occurred within them. So we are truly children of the stars.

Margherita Hack

We dream of travelling from macrocosm materials to microcosm materials, and back again. We dream of going beyond physical barriers, of researching and developing smart materials that offer solutions for a life respectful of Nature.
Materials are the means and, at the same time, the end of a pathway of intimate knowledge. In the future, they will come alive to perform new functions and follow an exciting technological trend that goes under the name of smart materials.

Smart materials can be the key to sustainable technological progress. They are the outcome of highly evolved technologies and intense laboratory research, since smart materials are intelligent nanomaterials that react to their surroundings. Not only do they not pollute, they can also offset the negative effects of “progress” on the environment. They are materials that react to changes in their surroundings by modifying one or more of their features (ranging across the mechanical, optical, electric, magnetic, chemical and thermal spheres).
A material’s adaptability is first of all measured according to its capacity to exploit natural resources, or to react to environmental inputs more or less autonomously, and so reproduce, at least in part, the strategies typically employed in the animal and human kingdom and so react to external conditions in a nearly biological manner.

Eldor develops associated materials and technologies that concentrate on thermal management, on weight reduction and on the materials’ ability to be responsive, that is, to adapt to their surroundings and modify their status, so that the object and the environment become one, vibrating at the same frequency.
The development of materials takes place in conjunction with the development of design. Design and materials are two distinct worlds, but they have close links and are equally important in moulding the physical world around us. Design creates products and products are made of materials. Design gives functions to products and materials are chosen and shaped to incorporate those functions in the best possible way.

When talking about research and development for automotive materials, most of Eldor’s efforts go into developing and utilizing materials that make cars weigh less. Cars have become substantially heavier over the past three decades because of all the extra safety measures required and their higher specifications (such as air conditioning). Forcing this curve downwards to reduce car weight and comply with upcoming legislations on emissions is a massive challenge. Powertrains are most effective way to achieve the latter, but reducing weight can also help. Studies indicate that a 10% reduction in mass can give a benefit of between 3% and 7% less fuel used, depending on the car and driving cycle. The effect is greatest with more efficient engines in terms of fuel consumption and smaller size. On average, a reduction in weight of 100 kg delivers -10 gr CO2/km.

The Automotive industry is always on the go, it is a fast-paced world in constant evolution and improvement. Eldor moves in unison with this world, studying, designing and implementing new materials whose very purpose is sustainability and the reduction of environmental impact.