In an attempt to make automotive plastics more eco-friendly, a team of Brazilian scientists have gone bananas…
The scientists claim that by using fibers from such fruits as bananas and pineapples, new plastics can be reinforced to make them not onlymore sustainable; but stronger and lighter than traditional plastics.
Study leader Alcides Leão addressed the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society this weekend, extolling the virtues of the plants nano-cellulose fibers…
"The properties of these plastics are incredible," Leão said.
"They are light, but very strong — 30 per cent lighter and 3-to-4times stronger. We believe that a lot of car parts, includingdashboards, bumpers, and side panels, will be made of nano-sized fruitfibers in the future. For one thing, they will help reduce the weight of cars and that will improve fuel economy."
Aside from those benefits, the nano-cellulose plastics are also more resistant to damage from heat, spilled gasoline, water, and oxygen.
To create the nano-fibers, certain chemicals are added to the plantsleaves and stems and placed in "a device similar to a pressure cooker".
The compound is then heated several times, resulting in a fine powder.
If successful, Leão hopes to introduce the plastics into otherfields, such as lightening the load for medical equipment likeartificial hips.
"So far, we’re focusing on replacing automotive plastics," he explained.
"But in the future, we may be able to replace steel and aluminumautomotive parts using these plant-based nanocellulose materials."
With automotive companies currently testing the nano-cellulosematerials with "favorable" results, Leão predicts the reinforcedplastics could be in use within the next two years.
Sounds appeeling, don’t you think?
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist… Any banana article requires no fewer than two horrible puns.)
Plant-based Plastic Stronger, Lighter and Greener originally appeared in Green Chip Stocks. Green Chip Review is a free 2x-per-week newsletter, is the firstadvisory to focus exclusively on investments in alternative andrenewable energies.
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