Anyone could see wood as the last material to use when building a car in this day and age, but Japan thinks otherwise.
Apparently, Japanese researchers and car makers are studying the potential of wood as a substitute for steel to create lighter and stronger cars.
In particular, they are paying attention to cellulose nanofibers, a material made from wood pulp that weighs just one-fifth of steel yet five times stronger, Reuters reported.
For context, reducing a car’s weight is important so that fewer batteries may be required to power them.
According to the outlet, cellulose nanofibers are now being used to create various products such as ink and transparent displays. Their use in cars is anticipated in what has been dubbed the “Kyoto Process,” where wood is broken down into such fibers while being mixed with plastics.
Hiroaki Yano, professor at Kyoto University who leads the research on such incorporation, told Reuters:
“This is the lowest-cost, highest-performance application for cellulose nanofibers, and that’s why we’re focusing on its use in auto and aircraft parts.”