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Ford, Boeing and Northwestern University To Form Nanotechnology Alliance

Ford, Boeing and Northwestern University To Form Nanotechnology Alliance

Ford Motor Co., the Boeing Co. and Northwestern University plan to form an alliance to research and develop commercial applications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the branch of engineering that deals with things smaller than 100 nanometers, which is at the molecular level of matter.

In making the announcement, Ford officials dedicated the new $30 million Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston. Ford provided a $10 million grant to build the design center as part of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science facility.

Their agreement is expected to lead the way for future advancements in transportation and aerospace, including the building of automobiles that could be powered by hydrogen rather than gasoline. In addition to energy-producing materials, scientists believe that nanotechnology will dramatically advance medicine, electronics and manufacturing.

“Ford has a long history of research in the field of nanotechnology, and this relationship will strengthen our knowledge for the future,” says Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, Ford’s vice president of research and advanced engineering. “In line with this commitment, we are very pleased to be working with Boeing. They have been our long-time partner, and our joint collaboration with Northwestern University underscores just how serious we are about innovating for the future together.”

For automobiles, nanotechnology could help Ford find ways to boost power in hybrid vehicle batteries using “nanoscale materials” that create more energy than traditional materials. In the hydrogen arena, nanotechnology could help researchers develop higher capacity hydrogen storage tanks for cars, which would help make the fuel more practical for the future.

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