What’s super strong, fast growing, and potentially going to be part of cars? Bamboo!

April 21, 2017

You’ve probably sat on it, built with it, and maybe even eaten it, but did you know that 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 like super strong carbon fibre and lightweight aluminium, nature’s wonder material may have been growing all along and as much as three feet in a day.

Soon, some surfaces inside our vehicles could be made from a combination of bamboo and plastic to create super hard material.

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

 

 

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.

We have worked with suppliers to evaluate the viability of using bamboo in vehicle interiors and to make extra strong parts by combining it with plastic – and the team has found that bamboo performs comprehensively better than other tested synthetic and natural fibres in a range of materials tests.

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