Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Certain species of bamboo can grow 35 inches within 24 hour period and that is unbelievable. Bamboos are typical significance for South, Southeast and East Asia. It can serve as a building material, food source and as a versatile raw product. Will be bamboo the next “carbon fiber” in automotive industry?
Real carbon fibre is still quite expensive to make in large quantities, requires quite a lot of effort to manufacture, when you made it poorly, it can be very brittle, but what is more important – it is not recyclable and has a bad impact on environment while being produced. Gary Young, a manufacturer of surfboards, says : “With the right approach, bamboo could be used in many applications in automotive industry thanks to its qualities plus it doesn’t have a negative effect on the environment.
Bamboo really looks promising on many levels. It could pass several difficult problems connected to new-car production. It could withstand flame and fire resistance standards. The bamboo wood costs pennies per pound and it is perhaps the best renewable material, as it grows very quickly. What is more, the dust from a bamboo weave production decomposes over time.
Toyota’s Lexus division is one of car-makers committed to renewable materials and now it is offering 8 models of Lexus’ bamboo-rimmed steel wheel. According to engineers’ words, if you feel comfortable at the wheel, you don’t feel so tired, even after a long drive.
There is a lot of questions around using bamboo at the high temperatures common in automotive industry and fabrication. So for now carbon fiber still can’t be replaced by bamboo, but things could change soon or later.
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Silvia M.//SMC Editor
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Credits : inhabitat.com, trendblast.com, bbc.com, greencarreports.com, wikipedia.org, googleimages