Dandelion, a New Material Source for Ford

We've gotten used to seeing, in the past few years, all sorts of more or less crazy ideas being put into practice into the automotive world. Most of those ideas have one thing in common: make cars greener. And we don't mean (only) by finding new propulsion means...

For some time now, Ford has taken a new approach when it comes to advertising its vehicles. Seeing that the average Joe is beginning to feel for the environment, Ford sprung into action and began using all sorts of materials for parts of the cars in manufacturers.

A while back, Ford gave us an insight into how carpets, jeans, bottles and CDs have turned into over 300 components installed in its cars. Now, nature itself provides, or it may provide, a new type of rubber which might be used in cupholders, floor mats and interior trim.

Together with some guys with nothing better to do from the Ohio State University, Ford is looking into ways to turn the plain-dull dandelion for its next project. Or, in the words Ford uses, a “milky-white substance that seeps from dandelion roots.”

“We’re always looking for new sustainable materials to use in our vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint to produce and can be grown locally,” said Angela Harris, Ford research engineer.

“Synthetic rubber is not a sustainable resource, so we want to minimise its use in our vehicles when possible. Dandelions have the potential to serve as a great natural alternative to synthetic rubber in our products.”

The car maker intends to use whatever substance it can create from the milky fluid as a plastics modifier, to help improve the impact strength of plastics.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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