Ford Researching Methods for Bamboo Application in Vehicle Interiors
Bamboo: it’s not just a thing that pandas eat, ya know. It’s also an incredibly durable material that is considerably more sustainable than other wood types, which is why Ford has been hard at work determining new ways to incorporate the material into its vehicles.
“Bamboo is amazing,” said Janet Yin, a materials engineering supervisor at Ford’s Nanjing Research and Engineering Center. “It’s strong, flexible, totally renewable, and plentiful in China and many other parts of Asia.”
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Ford is currently experimenting with ways to combine bamboo with plastic to create a super hard material that could be used to create surfaces within its vehicles in the same way as traditional plastics and, more recently, carbon fiber. In addition to being durable in its application, bamboo trees can grow as much as three feet a day and reach full maturity in as little as two years. This makes bamboo much more sustainable than other tress that can take decades to reach full maturity.
With regards to its durability, Ford and its suppliers have found that the bamboo/plastic combination “performs comprehensively better than other tested synthetic and natural fibers in a range of materials tests, from tensile strength tests to impact strength tests.”
Ford has undertaken a number of other methods to improve its effect on the environment through experimentation with sustainable and recycled materials. This includes teaming with Jose Cuervo in an attempt to use agave plant byproduct to develop bioplastics, the use of REPREVE fabric in its F-150, and recently becoming the first automaker to develop materials from captured carbon dioxide.
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