Fruit could make cars stronger, more fuel-efficient, scientists say
Bananas could be raw material for car parts, Brazilian scientists say.
March 28th, 2011
08:49 AM ET

Fruit could make cars stronger, more fuel-efficient, scientists say

Get ready for a bananamobile or a pineapple wagon.

Scientists in Brazil say they've developed a way to use fibers from the fruits to make strong, lightweight plastics that could be used to form car parts.

"The properties of these plastics are incredible," the leader of the project, Alcides Leão of Sao Paulo State University,  said in a press release. "They are light, but very strong — 30 per cent lighter and three to four times stronger. We believe that a lot of car parts, including dashboards, bumpers, 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."

The product is almost as strong as Kevlar, used in bulletproof vests, Leão said in presenting his team's work to the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, California, over the weekend.

Among the plant products that could provide raw material for the fibers are pineapple leaves and stems, bananas, coconut shells, agave, and cattails, the scientists say.

Besides their light weight and high strength, the new plastics are more resistant to heat, water and spilled gasoline than conventional plastics, the researchers say.

They could find their way into vehicles within two years, Leão said.

Funding for the research came from Brazil's government, Pematec, Toro Industria, Comercio Ltd. and other companies, the scientists said.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Brazil • Science • World
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Rufai Daniel

    I hope it would work out well for us,i never knew anything about this research not until i come accross this question,'Which of the following fruits can generate fuel?

    July 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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