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Ford, Boeing, and Northwestern University Announce Partnership to Research Commercial Applications of Nanotechnology

John Ginder of Ford Motor Company Speaks With NWN to Discuss the Automotive Giant’s Perspective on Nanotechnology and Its Impact on Current and New Product Lines
Ford and Boeing will soon enter into an alliance with Northwestern University to research nanotechnology and explore ways to integrate the small technology into existing and new product lines. Ford and Boeing have worked together on special projects over the past ten years, notes John Ginder, Acting Manager, Physical and Environmental Sciences Department for Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Company. He tells the NWN, “That we serve very different transportation sectors, but are nonetheless both manufacturing companies with large footprints and global reach, provides very interesting opportunities to share technologies and know-how.”

This is the first partnership between the two companies that will focus specifically on nanotechnology, and Mr. Ginder observes, “In light of the broad scope of many nanotechnologies, and the billions of dollars being poured into nanoscale research by governments and industries worldwide, we expect that the impact of nanotechnology on our business could be quite significant.” Not that nanotechnology is a new research field for Ford; “We have used nanomaterials in exhaust catalysts and as polymer fillers for decades,” notes Ginder. “But, we don’t necessarily know where the ‘killer apps’ for the new generation of nanotechnologies will be, and we therefore are compelled to be active participants in this field.” When asked by the NWN where the near term impacts of nanotechnology will be on industry, Ginder observes, “I expect there to be impacts in a number of areas, including energy storage and generation (batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen storage), lightweight materials (metallic and polymeric composites), heat transfer (thermoelectric materials, glass, paints), and much more.”

Northwestern University sees this partnership as a valuable opportunity to learn more about what companies are looking for with regards to technologies and knowledge, and can assist both companies in making technology available to both the public and private sectors. The beginning focus of the research amongst the organizations will be nanotechnology, and there could be additional research areas including thermal materials, specialty metals, coatings, and sensors. Notes Mr. Ginder, “It is likely that we [Ford] will try to identify and fund projects at Northwestern that can benefit both Ford and Boeing. Lightweight materials is one obvious area.”RSS feed of Nano World News

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