TECH

This Dimpled Car 'Skin' Could Make Futuristic Vehicles Way More Efficient

30/06/2014 11:52 BST | Updated 30/06/2014 11:59 BST

Cars made of next-generation 'morphable surfaces' could be hitting the roads one day after a breakthrough by scientists at MIT.

Scientists believe that adding golf-ball like dimples to cars could help reduce drag and make cars more efficient - leading to a reduction in reliance on fuel or electricity.

The study is described in a paper in the journal Advanced Materials by MIT’s Pedro Reis and former MIT postdocs Denis Terwagne.

It shows that the ideal material would be able to change its properties on the fly, reducing drag by become dimpled at low speeds and then smoothing out at high speeds.

The material is made of multiple layers, with a stiff skin and a soft interior. The team made a hollow ball of soft material and a stiff outer skin, and then extract air from the ball to make the surface dimpled on demand.

“Numerous studies of wrinkling have been done on flat surfaces,” said Reis in a statement. "Less is known about what happens when you curve the surface. How does that affect the whole wrinkling process?"

Eventually it is hoped that making objects like cars and radar out of the material could make them more efficient. Head over to MIT for the full story.