Bamboo is one of the world's strongest natural materials, and it also grows at a rate of up to three feet (0.9 m) a day, making it a much more sustainable resource than wood. That's why we've recently seen it utilized in the construction of everything from bicycles to turntables. Now, engineers at the Ford Motor Company are looking at using it to make car parts.
According to Ford, bamboo performed significantly better than other synthetic and natural materials when subjected to both tensile strength and impact strength tests. In its pure, natural form, however, it can't be molded into specific shapes. That's why the automaker has combined bamboo fibers with plastic, to form a composite known as Bamboo 2.
The "super hard material," which is still being evaluated, could ultimately find use in interior components such as the cupholder cutout pictured above.
This isn't Ford's first experiment with sustainable building materials, incidentally. The company has also looked into making car parts from straw, tequila waste, retired paper currency and tomato peels, among other things.