Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Safer, greener cars: Cork may be better than polymer foam, study suggests

Date:
March 17, 2010
Source:
Inderscience
Summary:
Crash-test dummies could soon be facing vehicle collision tests in cars padded with cork rather than traditional materials such as polymer foams or porous aluminium metal, according to Portuguese engineers.

Crash-test dummies could soon be facing vehicle collision tests in cars padded with cork rather than traditional materials such as polymer foams or porous aluminium metal, according to Portuguese engineers writing in the International Journal of Materials Engineering.

Related Articles


Synthetic cellular materials, polymeric and metallic foams, have been extensively used in energy-absorbing systems for decades. They are commonly lightweight, stiff, and can absorb energy well. However, they suffer from some drawbacks when compared to natural materials, namely cost and a lack of sustainability.

Cork, the bark of the cork oak tree, Quercus suber, is one such cellular natural material. It can be compacted to form a micro-agglomerated material that rivals aluminium foam for its ability to absorb the energy of an impact. Now, Mariana Paulino of the University of Aveiro, and colleagues there and at the University of Coimbra have pitted cork against metal foams, polymer padding and a novel polymer foam material from Dow Automative, known as IMPAXX 300, to see which might make the optimal vehicle safety material.

The results obtained in energy-absorption tests indicate that polyurethane foam performs the worst of all the materials tested, despite its widespread use as an impact safety material in vehicles. Aluminium foam can absorb the most energy, marginally beating cork.

As an impact protection material for car bumpers, doors, headliners, knee bolsters and door pillars, cork even outperforms the novel material IMPAXX 300 in terms of the value of impact acceleration peak. Indeed, at higher energies, which would equate to a high-speed collision, cork has the best acceleration peak value.

The researchers also investigated the extent to which the different materials tested would intrude into the vechicle occupants' space in a collision. From a global point of view, aluminium foam showed the lowest displacement, followed by cork and then IMPAXX. Polyurethane foam was again the least suitable material in this test.

Aside from its well-known application as a bottle stopper material, cork is already widely used as a thermal and sound insulator and in various energy-absorbing applications including packaging and footwear. It is often used as damping pads under the keys in wind instruments such as clarinets and saxophones. However, its potential as a safety material for vehicles is only now emerging.

The researchers conclude that while aluminium foam marginally performs better than micro-agglommerated cork, cork could be a much better choice for future vehicle design as it is less costly and much easier to process than metal foam.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paulino et al. Hyperelastic and dynamical behaviour of cork and its performance in energy absorption devices and crashworthiness applications. International Journal of Materials Engineering Innovation, 2009; 1 (2): 197 DOI: 10.1504/IJMATEI.2009.029364

Cite This Page:

Inderscience. "Safer, greener cars: Cork may be better than polymer foam, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100312143352.htm>.
Inderscience. (2010, March 17). Safer, greener cars: Cork may be better than polymer foam, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100312143352.htm
Inderscience. "Safer, greener cars: Cork may be better than polymer foam, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100312143352.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins