Agenda, Attendee List, & Presentation files now available to Autotech Council members in the library.

Materials Matter. Important innovations in Material Science are changing vehicles weight, strength, resilience, heat tolerance, performance, sustainability, and more. The average car has 30,000 parts, and every one of them is made up of some material, with specific characteristics right down to molecular level. This agenda brings together the T1s, startups, and investors working on material science and new materials - new partners for OEs and the mobility supply chain.

  • Date: 6/10/2021 08:30 AM
  • Location Autotech Council's Virtual Meeting Room (Map)
  • More Info: Zoom instructions 24 hours before meeting starts



Silicon Valley, California, June 10 2021/Meeting Recap/ The Autotech Council reviewed the state of innovation and startups in Advanced Materials today. After our recent meeting on battery technologies, it was clear there is plenty of change happening in materials, composites, and additive materials and processing to review.

In today's Autotech Council meeting, we discussed the surprisingly dynamic topic of Materials Science in automotive. It comes as no surprise to anyone that a car or vehicle is an agglomeration of a LOT of material. Altogether, some 4000 pounds, or 1800kg of thousands of parts come together to make a single vehicle. Now, imagine that there are hundreds of smart people looking to innovate and improve around EVERY one of those parts. And the incentive to do so is high as materials can help automakers meet the following driving objectives:

  • lower costs
  • better performance, comfort, or features
  • lighter weight, vehicle efficiency
  • vehicle safety
  • more sustainability
  • simpler supply chain

Over the course of the meeting, we learned about very modern materials that are stronger and cheaper than carbon fiber, but also old-school comeback materials like hemp, which perform well but also highly sustainable. We also learned a good deal about how meeting the objectives is more than just materials, but it's also about how those materials are structured, historically cast or stamped, but now in polytubes, lattice, layers, sintered, or 3D printed additive manufacturing.

In our industry overview, Ben Patel, CTO and SVP of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. gave us the 3 principles guiding materials science. The notion being that if a scientifically viable solution wants to make it to mass production, it also needs to be commercially and environmentally viable given these three constraints:

  • Scalability: Can it be produced, economically, at scale. Are the materials readily available at volume and an acceptable cost.
  • Sustainability: At volume, what is the environmental footprint from cradle to grave. Is it better than existing solutions.
  • Industrial Friendliness: Is this something that can be easily manufactured, reliably and with low variance and risk. Is the supply chain simple, or more challenging (like the Pfizer COVID vaccine, that requires odd & expensive logistics.)

We then had a great eight technology pitches from hemp and fibers to organosilicon and 3D printing and a new haptics technology presented by Autotech Council member AlpsAlpine. Thanks to Sumitomo Chemical and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co for leading the Q&A on these technology pitches. 

So, where is the hotspot in Automotive Materials Science? The answer is any material that can deliver on the first set of bullets, and also survive the scrutiny of the second set of bullets. With the 8 great innovator's pitches we heard today, we know there are winners in the mix.

As usual, we ended the meeting into our "Soft close" where we let attendees "open mic" and ask further questions, and just discuss the topics at hand. Thanks to all who shared and participated to make this meeting a success.

Non-members can see the agenda and attendee list online, and members can download the contact information and presentation files from the member library.