Ford, OSU looking at dandelions for potential use as sustainable resource for rubber

Ford is teaming up with The Ohio State University to look at dandelions in a new way by researching their potential use as a sustainable resource for rubber.

“We’re always looking for new sustainable materials to use in our vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint to produce and can be grown locally,” said Angela Harris, Ford research engineer. “Synthetic rubber is not a sustainable resource, so we want to minimise its use in our vehicles when possible. Dandelions have the potential to serve as a great natural alternative to synthetic rubber in our products.”

Apparently a milky-white substance that seeps from a Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS), roots can be used to produce the sustainable rubber. The substance could potentially find its way into plastic parts in Ford vehicles, including cupholders, floor mats and interior trim.

“Managing weed problems is essential to developing TKS as a commercially viable domestic source of natural rubber in the U.S.,” said Bill Ravlin, associate director of OARDC.

Ford said that it could potentially use the substance as a plastics modifier, to help improve the impact strength of plastics.

– By: Omar Rana