Clemson researchers using trees to strengthen car parts

Courtesy: Clemson University

CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Researchers at Clemson’s International Center for Automotive Research are looking for ways to strengthen vehicles.

In research led by Srikanth Pilla, the team is looking to nature for inspiration, turning to trees to find the perfect formula.

“This is extracted from wood,” said Pilla as he held up a bottle filled with a white, jelly substance. “You can think about applying these kind of materials in bumper or fender applications in automotive.”

Pilla explains that bumpers made of the material won’t break on impact and they will last longer.

“It will have a pretty good stiffness. It will have pretty good strength, but more importantly, it will have very high energy absorption capability,” he said.

The new material is also compostable, meaning those old car parts won’t end up in a landfill.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding a project with $481,000 over the next five years.

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