In what seems ripe for an April Fool's Day joke, scientists have used fibers from bananas and pineapples to create super-strong, fruit-reinforced automotive plastics. These fruity plastics are currently undergoing extensive testing and some of the parts are claimed to offer Kevlar-like strength.
Dr. Alcides Leao from Sao Paulo State University, said that reinforcing plastics with microscopic fibers from the delicate fruits makes for an incredibly strong finished part. At the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, CA., Dr. Leao stated:
Among the most promising raw materials, according to Leao, are pineapple leaves and stems, curaua, bananas, coconut shells, sisal fibers from the agave plant and fique. Dr. Leao added that:The properties of these plastics are incredible. They are light, but very strong - 30 per cent lighter and three to four times stronger than regular plastic. We believe that a lot of car parts, including dashboards, bumpers and side panels, will be made of nano-sized fruit fibers in the future. For one thing, they will help reduce the weight of cars, and that will improve fuel economy.
April Fool's Day prank, right? Wrong.So far we're focusing on replacing automotive plastic. But in the future we may be able to replace steel and aluminum automotive parts using these plant-based nano-cellulose materials.
[Source: Daily Mail | Image: Ian Ransley Design + Illustration – C.C. License 2.0]