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redgreen

Using the 'ol bean - Soy plastics

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Ford Motor Company is working with the United Soybean Board to help research, develop and implement soybean-based materials into their products to take the place of petroleum-based materials and improve the sustainability footprint of their operations. At the recent USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop in Dearborn, Michigan, Deb Mielewski, Technical Leader of Plastics Research at Ford, talked about the development of biobased foam being used in every Ford vehicle manufactured in North America. “Automotive foam has to have fantastic compression. It has to rebound back in the field for 15 years under heat and humidity,” she explained.

Mielewski credits Ford’s work with the USB that started about 10 years ago that has helped the company perfect the foam and make other products, including many of the plastics in vehicles, from soybeans. “We have received [about] seven grants from the USB, so it’s been a really strong partnership,” she says. And she’s been pleasantly surprised by how much the board has helped in some of the issues during development. “When we had technical issues, we would come to the table with USB representatives, and they knew more about their crop, [so] they could help us get past those technical hurdles.”

usb-bio-sen-secy1.jpgDuring the workshop, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) even got the chance to make some of the soy-based foam. “That was the first time we actually had someone else make the foam, so we were really excited about it,” Mielewski said.

http://agwired.com/2012/08/19/ford-works-with-usb-to-develop-soy-based-materials/

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What was old is new again!! Lots of soy plastic used in WWII. I'm sure it is improved, but hardly new.

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Case IH Axial flow combines use soy plastic for the outside panels.

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I well remember the soybean plastic steering wheels and dash ornamental fittings and panels on cars of the late 30's and early 40's. They were okay for a while but a lot of the wheels cracked (the family '38 Buick Special for example) and the other parts distorted and discolored somewhat. Actually I guess the soy based parts were not much worse than some of the modern plastics used in cars today.

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Somewhere floating around the 'interweb', there is a picture of Henry Ford taking an axe/hammer to a pre-war Ford body panel made out of soybean plastic.

It is my understanding that the plastic panels used on JD combines are also made out of soybean plastic, as well as the start up fuel put in JD tractors and combines at the factory is soy-diesel.

I would happily buy soy diesel, IF it were available.

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What was old is new again!! Lots of soy plastic used in WWII.

Yup, photos of Henry Ford banging on one of his cars (used plastic panels) with a sledge exist.

best, randy

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