In this year's 24 hours Le Mans race (June 12-13), the ORECA01 car from French racing team Oreca will be using rear view mirrors with an integrated thin film encapsulated Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) on the back.
The developers from Huntsman Advanced Materials and Holst Centre consider the integration in the composite material of the race car as a huge success - particularly because flexible OLED lighting and signs are considered to be a few years away.
OLEDs are paper-thin, flexible and lightweight devices consuming up to 70% less energy compared to conventional light sources, making them prime candidates for the next generation of lighting. Before flexible OLED lighting and signs can be commercialized, there are some important research challenges to be solved.
To use OLEDs on the car, there was one critical step to overcome. OLEDs are sensitive to moisture, and even to oxygen, and had to be protected from these in order to maintain a long lifetime. The success of the OLED integration in the car was dependent on the encapsulation technology and Araldite® composite materials of Huntsman Advanced Materials.
The OLED itself displays the logo Araldite® - a brand which belongs to Huntsman.
Holst Centre and its partners are amongst the very few who are able to make flexible OLED lighting and signs. In the field of encapsulation technology and moisture barriers for flexible electronic devices.
Ton van Mol, Program Manager Flexible OLED Lighting and Signage at Holst Centre stated, "To my knowledge, it is the first time that an OLED on flexible foil is shown outside the laboratory in an actual application. Because of the harsh conditions, applications in automotive are always very demanding for the technologies that are used."
Pierre Seze, Composite Department Manager at Oreca, explained, "The integration of the OLED system in our carbon fiber pre-preg represents several advantages for our race car. The first one is the weight. Indeed with the OLED system our race car's carbon fibre mirror, keeps its performance in terms of weight. Furthermore the integration of the OLED system doesn't imply any mechanical problem on the carbon fiber pre preg made car mirror. This technology fits perfectly with the very demanding constraints of endurance races such as Le Mans 24 Hours."
Source: Holst Centre
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