New materials like super strong carbon fiber and lightweight aluminum are the results of increasing investment in research. Bamboo, nature’s wonder material is finding the place in some surfaces inside the vehicles which could be made from a combination of bamboo and plastic to create super hard material.
Bamboo has unique characteristics in comparison to other materials. The benefits of bamboo have been established for more than a century – Thomas Edison even experimented with it when making the first light bulb. Its utility in buildings because of its high tensile strength (or its resistance to being pulled apart) is well known for years, as it can compete with other materials or shows even better results in comparison to some of the metals. Bamboo grows to full maturity in just two to five years – compared to up to decades for other trees – bamboo also regenerates easily.
Janet Yin, a materials engineering supervisor at Ford’s Nanjing Research & Engineering Centre, said, “Bamboo is amazing. It is strong, flexible, totally renewable, and plentiful in China and many other parts of Asia.”
The viability of using bamboo in vehicle interiors and to make extra strong parts by combining it with plastic has been under evaluation by Fords along with its suppliers for the last several years. Investigations in a range of materials tests, from tensile strength tests to impact strength tests, have shown that bamboo performs comprehensively better than other tested synthetic and natural fibers. It has also been heated to more than 212 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure it can maintain its integrity.
Ford is already making use of various sustainable and recycled materials. The company recently announced it is working with Jose Cuervo to explore the use of the tequila producer’s agave plant byproduct to develop more sustainable bioplastics to employ in Ford vehicles.