Super strong yet light weight cars made from the fibres of pineapples and bananas could be a possibility within two years.
In what promises to be the ultimate green development, researchers in Brazil are using plant fibres to build a new generation of car bodies as well as engine parts.
The plastics, which are strengthened by the fruit fibres, are already being tested by manufacturers who believe they could be used in cars within two years, the Daily Mail reports.
Alcides Leao from Sao Paulo State University said reinforcing plastic with microscopic fibres from delicate fruits such as pineapples and bananas made them super-strong.
“The properties of these plastics are incredible,” he told the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, California.
“They are light, but very strong — 30 percent 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 fibres in the future.”
Some of the fibres were almost as stiff as Kevlar, the super-strong material used to make bullet-proof vests and lightweight armour, he said.
The fibre-reinforced plastics are also more impervious to heat, spilled petrol, water and oxygen than ordinary automotive plastics.
“We believe that a lot of car parts, including dashboards, bumpers and side panels, will be made of nano-sized fruit fibres in the future. For one thing, they will help reduce the weight of cars, and that will improve fuel economy.”
Plant fibres from wood have been used for centuries to make paper.
But recently scientists have discovered that intensive processing of wood releases ultra-small ‘nano’ cellulose fibres so small that 50,000 could fit across the width of a single human hair.