The automotive industry continually develops advanced materials to overcome the challenges it faces in making safer, more fuel efficient automotives that are less dependent on fossil fuels. Employment of nanotechnology has the potential to bring the necessary advancements into materials utilized in many automotive parts, from metals to polymers. Nanoscale development and processing of the materials requires imaging, analysis, and measurement on a nanoscale level. Imaging techniques, such as electron microscopy, provide necessary resolution, but generally require painstaking sample preparation, imaging in a vacuum, and only provides a 2D image of the surface as an output. However, atomic force microscopy (AFM) can readily image any surface under ambient conditions and provide 3D topography of the surface. Moreover, AFM allows the measurement of many other surface properties, such as conductivity and stiffness, which could be relevant to the automotive industry. Scientific research already shows many automotive-related applications of AFM. It is clear that AFM is an indispensable tool in many aspects of automotive material development and in the future, AFM may be required for advanced manufacturing.
Figure 1: The upper left depicts a 3D AFM image of a highly polished copper substrate with surface texture parameters for the image. Below is a line profile showing the heights of the sample’s surface features.
Table of Contents
2. Auto manufacturing industry needs and problems
3. Introduction to AFM
4. Automotive relevant applications of AFM
4.1. Failure analysis
4.2. Corrosion analysis
4.3. Composition analysis
4.4. Morphology and composition of surfaces and coatings
4.5. Mechanical analysis
4.6. Tribological analysis
4.7. Electrical and magnetic characterization
4.8. Analysis of energy storage devices
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