04 Jul '11, 11pm
Ford's Incredible, Edible Materials Chain
Take injection molding. Almost every panel on modern vehicles is made from a piece of injection molded plastic. Finding ways to use less plastic, while maintaining ease of manufacture and material strength could save both money and yield better fuel economy by producing a lighter car. One of the more amusing points in our tour of Ford’s Emerging Technology Labs last week was a demonstration of the process using chocolate as a more delicious plastic substitute. Ford’s otherwise serious engineers showed that by injecting high-pressure gas (in this case CO2) into liquid chocolate, a bubbly finished product could be produced that would maintain the stregth and shape of a traditional chocolate bar with less material. The bubbles form a sort of lattice-work which minimizes any loss of rigidity.