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OSU Researchers Experiment with Turning Compost into Car Parts

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Auto industry researchers have been brainstorming ways to make car parts more affordable, durable, and eco-friendly. Currently, a team of researchers at Ohio State University are testing natural auto parts made from composted materials like tomato peels and egg shells.

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The OSU team’s efforts

Katrina Cornish, professor and researcher at OSU, is leading the university’s initiative on this “compost to car part” project. She’s uniquely positioned for the project considering her background working for the USDA and achieving a doctorate in plant biology from the University of Birmingham in England. Besides teaching academics, she serves as an international authority on alternative natural rubber production, properties, and products.

Cornish and her team believe that tomato skins and eggshells could function as reinforcing fillers in carbon black, as Automotive News shares. Carbon black is a crucial component found in many rubber-based car parts, such as tires, hoses, suspension bushings, and motor mounts. But factories produce it by burning heavy-petroleum products. Thus, if the OSU team tests continue to go well, car parts made with these natural fillers could soon introduce greener production processes for the industry.

Other benefits of natural car parts

Natural car parts could help automakers and suppliers achieve the product cost-effectiveness and longevity that they’ve been dreaming about. For instance, some suppliers have a goal of creating auto components that last for 1,000 miles. By incorporating ingredients like tomato peels and ground egg shells, suppliers will have an affordable alternative to producing more durable auto parts.

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News Sources: Autoblog, Automotive News (subscription required)