Super Street Network

 |   |   |  Ford Researches Rubber Production from Dandelions - Web Exclusive
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

Ford Researches Rubber Production from Dandelions - Web Exclusive

Ford and The Ohio State University are looking at dandelions in a new way by researching their potential use as a sustainable resource for rubber.

May 13, 2011

A milky-white substance that seeps from dandelion roots is used to produce the sustainable rubber. The substance could potentially find its way into plastic parts in Ford vehicles, including cupholders, floor mats and interior trim.

Eurp 1105 01 o+ford rubber production from dandelions+ford car Photo 2/3   |   Ford Researches Rubber Production from Dandelions - Web Exclusive

The potential use of dandelion root as a rubber substitute is another example of Ford's investment in sustainable materials for its vehicles, including soy foam seat cushions, wheat straw-filled plastic for interior trim and recycled blue jeans cotton as sound-dampening material.

"We're always looking for sustainable materials to use in our vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint to produce and can be grown locally," said Angela Harris, Ford research engineer. "Synthetic rubber is not a sustainable resource, so we want to minimize its use in our vehicles where possible. Dandelions have the potential to serve as a great natural alternative to synthetic rubber in our products."

Not all dandelions are created equal, meaning not all can be used as a sustainable resource for rubber. The suitable species for this project is the Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS), which is being grown at The Ohio State University's Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). "Managing weed problems is essential to developing TKS as a commercially viable domestic source of natural rubber," said Bill Ravlin, associate director of OARDC.

Eurp 1105 02 o+ford rubber production from dandelions+dandelion field Photo 3/3   |   Ford Researches Rubber Production from Dandelions - Web Exclusive

Ford could potentially use the substance as a plastics modifier, to help improve the impact strength of plastics. "It's strange to see weeds being grown in perfectly manicured rows in a greenhouse, but these dandelions could be the next sustainable material in our vehicles," said Harris.

Before the dandelion-derived rubber can be put to use, Ford researchers will assess the quality of the material to evaluate how it will perform in a variety of plastics that are used in vehicles, and to ensure it meets tough durability standards.

Besides the dandelion, the team is also looking into the use of guayule (a southwestern US shrub) as a natural rubber, which is provided by OARDC and can also be grown domestically.

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

Toyota has revealed TRD versions of the 2020 Camry and Avalon sedans
Kelly PleskotNov 16, 2018
Preview the Super Street January 2019 edition - the Red Issue - with the perfect MR2, K24 DC2, custom widebody FD3S, 500hp+ Evo IX, RB25 S14, 355 Berlinetta, and more!
Bob HernandezNov 16, 2018
After taking some time off from the Honda game Robert Tellez is back with a build that has plenty of options for progression
RodrezNov 16, 2018
The new BMW Z4 only exists because Toyota wanted a new Supra.
ManufacturerNov 15, 2018
The Subaru WRX STI Diamond Edition features a yellow body kit - complete with front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser - and 349 ponies under the hood
Kelly PleskotNov 14, 2018
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP