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WATCH: Future Fords could be built with Bamboo

2017-04-25 12:56

WHAT'S NEXT? What's super strong, fast-growing and potentially part of your next car? Well if Ford's research proves fruitful it could be Bamboo! Image: Ford

China - You’ve probably sat on it, built with it, and maybe even eaten it but did you know that future cars could be next to benefit from bamboo – one of the world’s strongest natural materials? 

While investment in research has led to breakthroughs in new materials such as strong carbon-fibre and lightweight aluminum, Bamboo could be used in future vehicles.

Surfaces inside future models could be made from a combination of bamboo and plastic to create a super hard material.

“Bamboo is amazing. It’s strong, flexible, totally renewable, and plentiful in China and many other parts of Asia,” said Janet Yin, a materials engineering supervisor at Ford’s Nanjing Research & Engineering Centre. 

Why use Bamboo in cars?

Over the past several years, Ford worked with suppliers to evaluate the viability of using bamboo in vehicle interiors and to make extra strong parts by combining it with plastic. The team has found that bamboo performs comprehensively better than other tested synthetic and natural fibers in a range of materials tests, from tensile strength tests to impact strength tests. It’s also been heated to more than 100oC to ensure it can maintain its integrity.

The benefits of bamboo have been recognised for more than a century – Thomas Edison even experimented with it when making the first light bulb. In building, its tensile strength (or how much it can resist being pulled apart) is well known, as it can rival or even better some types of metal. And, because it grows to full maturity in just two to five years – compared to up to decades for other trees – bamboo also regenerates easily. 



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