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Old 01-20-2011, 02:34 AM   #1

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Energy Absorbing Gel Destined for Your Next Car|37291_aim

Automakers have made impressive advances in structural design, but the basic materials haven't changed much over the last several decades. The average vehicle is still comprised of steel and aluminum, and even though we've made considerable advances in strengthening and lightning, cars are still made of the same basic metals Henry Ford used in the first part of the last century. This could change in the very near future.

Aside from carbon fiber and magnesium becoming increasingly common, new shock-absorbing materials are either in development or already being used in applications outside the automotive world. Case in point: d3o. The orange gel is comprised of "intelligent molecules" that can sense an impact within milliseconds and then harden to divert the energy. When a sudden force isn't applied, the gel is as pliable as Silly Putty.

According to the Sunday Times, Mazda is already looking into using the material in future vehicles, which would go a long way towards helping to reach the automaker's goal of reducing vehicle weight by 15% in the next five years. Check out the video below for a demonstration of the superputty in action and read the rest of the Sunday Times' predictions here.

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