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 Le√£o of Sao Paulo State University,¬† said in a press release. "They are light, but very strong ‚ÄĒ 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, Le√£o 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, Le√£o said.
Funding for the research came from Brazil's government, Pematec, Toro Industria, Comercio Ltd. and other companies, the scientists said.