Researchers Develop Car Parts From Coconut Fibers

Researchers Develop Car Parts From Coconut Fibers

Baylor University researchers have found a way to make car parts with coconut fibers, a process that utilizes waste coconut husks and would increase income for farmers.

The researchers have been working on low-cost products that can be made with coconuts, abundant in equatorial regions where about 11 million coconut farmers earn about $500 a year.

Though a process that utilizes coconut fibers in place of synthetic or polyester fibers in compression molded composites, the researchers have focused on coconut-based trunk liners, floorboards and interior door covers.

Part of their goal is to design products that can be manufactured simply and inexpensively, as well as triple the market price for coconuts to 30 cents each.

The researchers say that their process would be cheaper than using synthetic fibers and utilize husks, which would ordinarily be thrown away.

The next step is for the car parts to undergo tests to see if they meet safety standards. Researchers are hopeful they will pass since coconuts do not burn easily nor do their emit toxic fumes.

At least a couple carmakers, Toyota and Mazda, have also been experimenting with using bioplastic to make a range of car parts.