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Jung Awarded $370K for Automotive Lighting System

January 26, 2015

MIE Associate Professor Yung Joon Jung was awarded a $370K grant from the Korea Automotive Technology Institute (KATECH) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy of South Korea for "Developing strong, high thermal resistant and lightweight materials and their processing for the high performance automotive lightening systems”.


Developing lightweight materials for automobile and aerospace industries has become critically important as the technology trend is geared toward higher fuel efficiency in combustion engine and electrical powered drive systems. Various new lightweight materials (ex; Carbon Fiber, Nanocomposites) have been researched for this purpose and successfully demonstrate better performances in strength and other functions compared to conventional metals or metal alloys.

This project will develop strong, high thermal resistant and lightweight materials for high performance automotive lighting systems. An automobile lighting system is not just the lamps but also plays an important roles in safety and as a signal indicator. Better performance will come with less risk of accidents and bring better quality of life for the society.

Figure: (Top) Transparent EMI shielding film fabricated with highly controlled SWNT network, (Bottom) metal decorated vertically aligned SWNT film (Jung’s group NEU)

The lighting system in an automobile has 5 major parts – projection module, housing, reflector, bezel, and outer lens. We will focus on developing the lightweight reflector and housing. Particularly we will design and fabricate the nanomaterials (CNT or Graphene) based composite film for electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding and enhanced interface between Aluminum metal and lightweight polymeric materials, polyphenylenesulfide (PPS). PPS was developed at Philips Petroleum in 1973 and the demands have been increasing continuously. Distinct features include a high heat resisting property, low coefficient of expansion, low moisture absorption, and flame regarding property that satisfy current required properties for light weight and high performance lighting system replacing conventional metals (Al or Mg).

However, there are several concerns to use PPS polymer in automobile lighting system. First, it has a poor wetting with aluminum layer, which is used for light reflector film, therefore one needs to deposit an adhesive layer or a buffer layer using plasma process. To address this challenge, we will incorporate nanostructured carbon materials such as nanotube or graphene inside of PPS to provide a good wetting property between PPS without this adhesive layer process. In addition, this electrically conductive nano-carbon filler can provide new function such as EMI shielding. Our group has researched the frequency controllable EMI shielding film by using unique transparent assembled CNT networks.

Our group is also specialized for developing hybrid nanomaterials for multifunctional materials systems. We have developed new types of nano-materials; millimeter scale vertically aligned Carbon nanotubes (VA-CNTs), engineered Carbon nano-cup (CNC), hybrid of graphene and carbon nanotubes, nanoscale surface modification or decoration of nano-carbon structures for various applications such as sensors for gas, ion and light, a secondary cell like li-ion battery and supercapacitor, EMI shielding composite, fabrication of enhanced friction pads.