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Researchers say new material could let cars be powered by their bodywork

Donald Melanson, @donmelanson
February 5, 2010
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It likely won't be ready for your next vehicle purchase, but some researchers from Imperial College London say that this rather modest-looking piece of material could eventually do nothing short of change of the way that cars are powered. The material itself is still a bit of a mystery, as you might expect, but it's apparently able to store and discharge electrical energy, and (here's the real kicker) is strong and light enough to be used for a car's bodywork -- essentially making the car itself one giant battery. That would obviously open up a whole host of possibilities, including being used to complement traditional batteries for even longer runtimes, or being used on its own to make smaller and lighter vehicles. The applications also wouldn't necessarily be limited to cars, and the researchers specifically mention cellphones as another area that could see smaller and lighter (or longer-lasting) devices if the material is used. Let's get on that, shall we? Video demonstration after the break.

[Thanks, Clinton C]







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