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Is Bamboo the Next Carbon Fibre?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the ok-but-avoid-the-spreading-kind dept.

Transportation 198

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the BBC about one very cool building material: "Real carbon fibre, mind, is still just as wondrous as it was in the last century, even if a bit more commonplace in road cars. But it's still very expensive to make in large pieces and quantities, it requires copious energy to manufacture, can be very brittle if made poorly, is not recyclable and can impose a detrimental impact of the environment when being produced. In other words, it is ripe for disruption. Technology stands still for no one. But could nature provide carbon fibre's replacement? So argues Gary Young, a renowned manufacturer of surfboards who has spent his life pioneering alternative materials use for that industry. 'With the right approach, bamboo can be used in many applications in the automotive world where its performance qualities can better carbon fibre's,' Young says. 'Plus, it does not have a negative effect on the environment.''"

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bamboo car (5, Interesting)

Xicor (2738029) | about 4 months ago | (#47089195)

i can see it now. cars made out of bamboo instead of plastic and metal. http://www.cartell.ie/car_chec... [cartell.ie]

Re:bamboo car (1)

Wing_Zero (692394) | about 4 months ago | (#47089361)

Is this the re-emergence of the "woodie" [oldwoodies.com] style car?

Re:bamboo car (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#47089377)

Balsa wood was used in the Corvette. Wood it nature's original composite.

Re:bamboo car (1)

seven of five (578993) | about 4 months ago | (#47089771)

Ash still used in the Morgan [morgan-motor.co.uk] .

Re:bamboo car (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47089567)

This has been done before [pinimg.com] .

Re:bamboo car (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 4 months ago | (#47090017)

The Indian truck manufactuer Tata has been using wood as a construction material for quite some time now.

Re:bamboo car (5, Funny)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | about 4 months ago | (#47090139)

The Indian truck manufactuer Tata has been using wood as a construction material for quite some time now.

Other materials used include chewing gum, rubber bands, old newspapers, and spit.

Negative Effects... (5, Interesting)

IonOtter (629215) | about 4 months ago | (#47089211)

Well, that depends on a few things?

1. What you plant.
2. Where you plant it.
3. Who your neighbors are, and your current relationship with them.

Plant the wrong kind, or plant it without a 3' deep root barrier, and you will quickly have a neighborhood war on your hands. Expand this to commercial levels of production, and you could make a lot of people very angry with you.

One thing is certain, though? Once you plant it, it is THERE for 15 years, at the very least. And you'll be exceptionally busy for every bit of those 15 years.

Re:Negative Effects... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#47089265)

well like other "negative impact" stuff like that the usual course of business would be just cut a piece of jungle and plant it there.

that being said, bamboo is already used and cultivated for lots of stuff.. however, I would imagine negative impact from either carbon fibre or bamboo fibre would come from the binder resins and not the actual fibre so much.....

Re:Negative Effects... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47090065)

"Just cut a piece of jungle and plant it there" is an example of how to create an environmental disaster.

Many types of bamboo are incredibly resilient and incredibly invasive. Start planting it in very fertile soil - such as, say, a jungle - and in a couple of decades, there'll be a mile or so radius around your plantation where the native undergrowth has been pretty much completely supplanted by bamboo. In a couple of generations, the whole ecosystem will be FUBAR.

Cultivate it properly, put in a solid (and expensive) root barrier. Oh, and if anyone lives nearby, do something about the frickin' mosquitoes. Otherwise, you're an environmental freeloader who deserves to be roundly beaten with a bunch of your own product.

Re:Negative Effects... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089457)

15 years? Bamboo has one of the fastest growth rates in the plant world. You need less than a year to use them after seeding.

Re:Negative Effects... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089563)

-1, Basic Reading Comprehension Fail.

Re:Negative Effects... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089477)

Bamboo, the spreading kind like yellow groove, starts to spread three years after planting. It never stops! Bamboo is a long lived plant, around 99 years. We have cut all our culms (stalks) and now the plant has reverted to a grass-like growth habit. But, no doubt, if it is not constantly mowed, it will revert to its normal habits, reaching up to 35 feet in height. Underground, about five inches, it is one interconnected mass. It spreads via rhizomes about five feet a year or more, in all directions. My advice is to plant the clumping types, far easier to manage. It is a beautiful plant.

Re:Negative Effects... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47090445)

On a commercial farm, 3' root barriers could be no problem at all, as could a 50' "dead zone" around the hundred acre production field.

And, when the evil bamboo shoots first appear (which only happens for about 4 to 8 weeks a year), they are very soft and easily killed with an ordinary lawn mower - do that to an entire plant dilligently for 3 years and it will be gone - nothing comes back from roots only for 15 years.

or... (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#47089223)

Or just keep using completely safe fiberglass as a not so strong but almost as light alternative like they have been for years in race cars. In fact, you know what's usually around the carbon fiber layers in cars? Fiberglass or at least the same epoxy that they use to make it.

Re:or... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 4 months ago | (#47089783)

Fiberglass is way weaker than carbon. There's a host of better options that are stronger, but maybe not safer for the environment. BTW, fiberglass isn't necessarily safe either. The epoxy is common across a lot of composites, as it merely provides adhesion and a shear matrix.

Re:or... (5, Informative)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 4 months ago | (#47090359)

Per wikipedia Ultimate Tensile Strength of S-glass is 4710MPa and UTS of Carbon fiber is 4137. I know that density is often mixed into the equation for strength, but even so... The biggest thing Carbon has going for it is its stiffness.

Re:or... (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 4 months ago | (#47090439)

Just as S-glass and E-glass have different properties, you can get all sorts of different behavior out of carbon fiber, based off the polymer precursor and cooking process. The ultimate strengths of some forms of carbon fiber are well over 6GPa.

Ob (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089249)

NO.

Bamboo Bicycle (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089257)

Bamboo is already making its way into bicycle frame design.
http://calfeedesign.com/products/bamboo/ [calfeedesign.com]

Re:Bamboo Bicycle (-1, Troll)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 4 months ago | (#47089409)

Somebody with mod points please bump parent up. Those bikes are astounding! Be sure to click on, and then embiggen the pictures. Off the hook engineering!

Re:Bamboo Bicycle (1)

contrapunctus (907549) | about 4 months ago | (#47089725)

Off the hook prices as well...

Re:Bamboo Bicycle (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 4 months ago | (#47089585)

I've seen bamboo used in China for scaffolding in the construction of steel and concrete buildings 20+ storeys tall.

Re:Bamboo Bicycle (5, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47089803)

I've seen bamboo used in China for scaffolding in the construction of steel and concrete buildings 20+ storeys tall.

Bamboo is safer than steel for scaffolding. It you fall into a bamboo scaffold, it will flex, absorbing much of the impact energy. When steel scaffolding was first used in China, there were several fatalities that would not have happened with bamboo. So the construction workers refused to return to work until the steel was taken down and replaced with bamboo.

Re:Bamboo Bicycle (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 4 months ago | (#47090349)

Bamboo is safer than steel for scaffolding.

Perceived as safer by the group of workers familiar with its use, but actually no.

According to HK accident statistics, the real probability of a fatal fall from a bamboo scaffold is close to double that of metal scaffolds.

Re: Bamboo Bicycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089979)

It's China, where buildings just randomly fall over sometimes. Wouldn't be surprised of some of them used no scaffolding at all.

Re:Bamboo Bicycle (3, Interesting)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 4 months ago | (#47089639)

I used it for some awesomely light bow limbs [waywardgeek.net] for their energy storage.

Re:Bamboo Bicycle (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 4 months ago | (#47089779)

Cool. Of course, yumi bows have been laminated bamboo since BC times.

Re:Bamboo Bicycle (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | about 4 months ago | (#47090413)

Making it's way? Historically was used in bicycles, I have pics from a bicycle museum along the Rhine River with bamboo framed bikes. Looking at a pic now, even the rim was wood (or at least matching color).

Recycleable? (5, Interesting)

craighansen (744648) | about 4 months ago | (#47089267)

Carbon fiber itself is just as recycleable as bamboo fiber. However bamboo, once combined with epoxy, it's just as unrecycleable and toxic as carbon fiber. I've got several ASUS bamboo laptops, where bamboo was used instead of plastic for a portion of the case. It was marketed as better for the environment, but to me it was just more esthetically pleasing than plastic. The bamboo components held up better than the hinges and the electronics.

Re:Recycleable? (4, Informative)

guises (2423402) | about 4 months ago | (#47089575)

Carbon fiber is made from fossil fuels, bamboo is a fairly efficient agricultural product. Recycling between them may be similar, I don't know about that, but that isn't the whole story.

Re:Recycleable? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 4 months ago | (#47089655)

Carbon fiber is made from fossil fuels, bamboo is a fairly efficient agricultural product.

And the epoxy used to bond the bamboo weave?

Re:Recycleable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089963)

Congratulations, you have just won the "I failed reading comprehension" award!

Re:Recycleable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47090067)

I want to see an advance in epoxy to make it more recyclable. Having an epoxy that is recoverable and reusable somehow (either by lowering the temperature it disintegrates at so it can be turned back into monomers) or some other method would go a long way in recycling. Right now, we have thermal decomposition... but that takes both a lot of heat and a lot of water to "boil" the plastics back to a usable form.

I can't belittle bamboo though. It is plentiful, cheap, 100% recyclable, durable, and takes very little technology to make. If we can just get the binding/resin agent to be something organic that is strong enough to last normal use, but be easily broken down... that would be a tremendous advance.

From the UK Readers (1)

richy freeway (623503) | about 4 months ago | (#47089269)

What the fuck is up with all these BBC International links at the moment? We can't view them over here without a proxy/VPN. Surely another source exists?

Re:From the UK Readers (0)

Teranolist (3658793) | about 4 months ago | (#47089527)

Alternative source: google.com... Better solution: Stop living in crap country

Re:From the UK Readers (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 4 months ago | (#47089675)

What the fuck is up with all these BBC International links at the moment? We can't view them over here without a proxy/VPN

That depends on where "over here" is. They are viewable in my part of the USA.

Re:From the UK Readers (1)

richy freeway (623503) | about 4 months ago | (#47090281)

I thought the subject of the thread made my location fairly clear, but just to keep you on track. I'm in the UK. Home of the BBC.

Re:From the UK Readers (2)

Aphadon (3402087) | about 4 months ago | (#47089987)

I find it incredibly ironic that the British Broadcasting Corporation website is blocking all British people from reading their news articles.

Re:From the UK Readers (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 months ago | (#47090301)

If you would like to submit a few articles, Timothy wouldn't have to be working overtime filling up Slashdot.

Clothing (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 4 months ago | (#47089275)

IIRC, my latest pair of running shorts apparently contain bamboo fibre. Whether or not this is a good thing or not, or even just an excuse to justify their overinflated price, I've no idea.

Re:Clothing (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 4 months ago | (#47089631)

If you felt the product's price was excessive compared to the value delivered, why did you buy the product?

Re:Clothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089641)

I like wood in my wood.

Re:Clothing (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 4 months ago | (#47089669)

Because I needed a new pair of running shorts (as in, I'd just noticed the other ones were literally starting to come apart), didn't have that much time to buy them, didn't expect that the other shop would be *that* much cheaper (*). And maybe because I was both slightly lazy and willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, while still retaining some doubt as to whether they were actually worth the price...

(*) They typically are, but "cheaper" on the branded stuff *they* sell still isn't that cheap, there's so much useless crap aimed at parents of kids wearing "sportswear as fashion" that it's impossible to find what one wants in a reasonable amount of time, and the staff are useless.

Re:Clothing (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#47089745)

I have a couple of bamboo shirts. They're pretty much similar to a cotton/rayon blend (and they were no more expensive than such).

Bamboo Rayon socks are awesome (5, Interesting)

Wraithlyn (133796) | about 4 months ago | (#47089973)

My feet would always be cold and clammy after a day at work. Tried a bunch of different sock types... cotton, wool, Merino wool, synthetics, etc. Nothing helped.

Then I tried Rayon from Bamboo socks (these guys [macys.com] ), and my god what a difference. Feet are dry and warm all day. They're the only kind I wear now.

Next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089285)

Bamboo has been used a lot longer than CF. Would it not be more accurate to say "is CF just a failed attempt at bettering bamboo?"?. You'd get just as many clicks - let's face it, that's all this article is for - and you'd do just as well at catching the eye of the eco crowd.

Oh...I dunno... (5, Funny)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#47089287)

Hey guys, guys?! Someone tell me, are cats the next thing in vermin control?

Re:Oh...I dunno... (1)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 4 months ago | (#47089539)

It's true, and the next thing in computing is cellular automation!

Re:Oh...I dunno... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 4 months ago | (#47089551)

They were the next thing in vermin. They are as bad as rats when they over populate an area, and 'Crazy Cat Lady' has gone mainstream.

Think of the Pandas ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089305)

Pandas eat Bamboo.

Every time you make a car out of Bamboo, a Panda dies.

Eventually there will be so little bamboo left, there will be swarms of Pandas in the street eating peoples cars..

Pandas - more real than zombies (now theres a FPS idea for someone>-) )

Re:Think of the Pandas ! (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 4 months ago | (#47089379)

Not just that - I love bamboo shoots in my Thai food. Why are foods being diverted to fuels or construction material - first corn, now bamboo....

Re:Think of the Pandas ! (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 4 months ago | (#47089401)

Why are foods being diverted to fuels or construction material - first corn, now bamboo....

In the first case it's because of the corn lobby. Bamboo, on the other hand, is actually good.

Re:Think of the Pandas ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089469)

fuck the pandas. They're no more an endangered wild animal than paris hilton's pocketbook puppy. There's a reason they look so cute -- they're domesticated. And there's a reason they're too fucking stupid to figure out how to fuck each other -- they've been domesticated and inbred to the point of retardation.

HaHa! No! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089315)

So fucking stupid.

Pst! Know where I can score some H1bs? I need 2 keys to start.

One word answer: (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 4 months ago | (#47089331)

No.

Longer answer: No and it's not as eco-friendly as people would like you to believe.

1. You need to farm it. Farms in general are never eco-friendly as they eliminate habitat.

2. You still need to use epoxy to bond the strands together. This epoxy is nearly identical to the epoxy used in carbon fiber and fiberglass and is just as nasty.

3. The claim that it would break down in landfills is bogus. Material decomposition in landfills is slow due to the anaerobic nature of landfills. Also, bamboo encased in epoxy isn't going to decompose like typical un-worked bamboo.

And since bamboo is weaker than carbon fiber, but more expensive than fiberglass, I expect it to never take the place of either, except in decorative modes.

Yes, I know, you can build a bamboo frame bicycle that performs well, but it's expensive and a novelty. When it's not done well....recoil in horror: http://www.instructables.com/i... [instructables.com]

Yeah, I'll take a steel frame, plox.

--
BMO

Re:One word answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089423)

Another one word answer? Bamboozle

Re:One word answer: (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47089475)

Yes, I know, you can build a bamboo frame bicycle that performs well, but it's expensive and a novelty. When it's not done well....recoil in horror: http://www.instructables.com/i [instructables.com] ...

You know, that looks amazingly ugly, but bicycles built that way are within a few percentage points of the weight of bicycles built "properly", and just as strong. I've been to Calfee and that's how bicycles are actually prototyped, basically. They use carbon fiber tubes and carbon fiber ribbon, but it's the same process. Cut and scallop the tubes, stick them together with epoxy putty, once that sets you wrap it in the ribbon while applying epoxy with a brush. Done and done.

Re:One word answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089659)

I like the idea of Bamboo bikes, don't get me wrong here, but they are not "within a few percentage points" of a modern bike frame. The Calfee frames are in the 6-7 pound range, which is at least 2X the weight of a modern bike frame in carbon fiber, aluminum, or even high end steel.

Still, there's something just cool about a wooden bike...

Re:One word answer: (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47090385)

I like the idea of Bamboo bikes, don't get me wrong here, but they are not "within a few percentage points" of a modern bike frame.

I'm only talking about the difference between just wrapping the joints, and an actual finished bicycle.

Re:One word answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089511)

So the difference comes down to the differences between the environmental impact of growing bamboo versus spinning fiberglass versus making carbon fiber.

Re:One word answer: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089611)

So the difference comes down to the differences between the environmental impact of growing bamboo versus spinning fiberglass versus making carbon fiber.

Not entirely. After all, we might have been driving cars made of hemp since the 40's were there not other factors in play causing Ford's hemp and soybean w/ceramic engine car to be shoved into underground storage at the end of WWII till Ford's death when it was destroyed and most all the records of formulae and such have been "lost".

Re:One word answer: (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 4 months ago | (#47089777)

Were those "other factors" you waking up from your dream?

Re:One word answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089805)

makes good bongs, though.

Re:One word answer: (1)

swillden (191260) | about 4 months ago | (#47089935)

makes good bongs, though.

How do they compare with carbon fiber bongs?

Re:One word answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47090097)

Just something on part 3 - breaking down isn't limited to a time frame. Quick bio-degradation would be nice, but the fact that it does biodegrade is what matters. Take plastic, for example. Plastic breaks down into smaller pieces of plastic. It does not break down into other components. There are some microorganisms that eat these plastics, but they aren't nearly as common as the ones that eat biological waste.

That's not to say that the epoxy isn't a problem, or that your other claims aren't valid.

Re:One word answer: (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#47090407)

Efficiency in this case is not measured in the composite product because that can be what ever you want it to be and doesn't necessarily need to be an epoxy. This is all about the efficiency of the fibre reinforcement, how much energy is required to produce it, how much water is required and how long it takes to produce.

So is it better than plantation forest and should it replace them? Is it more energy efficient that glass fibre production and should it replace it? Does it use less water than current plant fibre farms and should it replace them? Right now as a clothing fibre bamboo is largely dead, killed by an overly greedy patent and likely by the time the patent expires, something else will come along to replace it.

Patents do not promote innovation until you take the psychopathic insatiable greed out of them.

Don't you mean... (3, Insightful)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about 4 months ago | (#47089333)

I think they mean, the first carbon fiber. (Not really, but certainly prior to synthetic carbon fiber).

Expect the unexpected (4, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | about 4 months ago | (#47089353)

expect the unexpected unintended side effects.

I'm always glad to see new developments in materials science, but one of the potential issues that jumped out at me when I see them looking at plant based materials for cars is whether it will be tasty.

Not that I envision a horde of Panda's attacking our new bamboo cars, but insects and rodents might well. There was a change made to the plastic sheath in automotive wiring some years ago to use a soy based coating, for example, and it turns out mice liked to eat it; dramatically increasing rodent damage to vehicle wiring -- I seem to recall an article where at least one manufacturer combated the issue by adding 'spices' to the coating to make it less appetizing.

No idea if that's a concern with bamboo; but its something to consider; along with any number of other things maybe nobody has thought about. Only way to find out is to try, right :)

Re:Expect the unexpected (1)

confused one (671304) | about 4 months ago | (#47090059)

I seem to recall there was a problem with squirrels eating telephone wiring. They tried to fix it by adding capsicum. Turns out the squirrels like capsicum...

Re:Expect the unexpected (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47090085)

You would think there would be something they could add to it that would repel this taste or something. I mean I used to put cayenne pepper dust in my bird feeders to discourage squirrels and other rodents (birds can't taste it). Now I have a squirrel proof feeder but don't feed as much as I used to (just late in the season for stragglers and very early spring). But you would think that they could add something that would repel rodents or insects or whatever without changing the properties of the material too much.

Off topic? Yes. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089381)

But, is anyone else getting "This Connection is Untrusted" when the try to log in? It's been like this since yesterday.

Introducing your next performance car (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#47089395)

The BamBaoni 5000 [carmodification.org]

Re:Introducing your next performance car (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#47089433)

Bamboo bikes [calfeedesign.com] seem to be more likely. Although I don't see how its more environmentally friendly than a steel frame. Well cared for, it will last decades, and then it can become recycled and made into a new bike.

Bah ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089415)

Why do you keep posting stuff from the BBC that's inaccessible to UK readers? :(

Re:Bah ... (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 4 months ago | (#47089657)

You should probably ask the BBC about that. Cheers!

The headline rule (1, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 4 months ago | (#47089419)

If a headline ends with a question mark, the answer is almost always "no". e.g."Is this an image of Jesus in a Danish pastry?" No. "Does this medieval painting prove UFOs?" No. "Could red wine be the cure for cancer?" No. etc.

Re:The headline rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089497)

That's Betteridge's law of headlines. Of course, you're probably saying it's no because you're a Republican. Your kind hates anything that is good for the environment.

Re:The headline rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089715)

"Could a Democrat like the stupid bastard parent ever grow a brain?" No.

Re:The headline rule (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47089911)

Just saying it is good for the environment doesn't really make it so.

Is it really so? From what I can tell, not any more than what it wants to replace once you figure everything in from the final product.

does that automagically make me a Republican or denier or something?

Big deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089439)

Adobe is the car made out of clay!

Have they already forgotten the Trabant? (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 months ago | (#47089467)

The pinnacle of East German automotive technology, a car made out of wood.

Re:Have they already forgotten the Trabant? (2)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 4 months ago | (#47089959)

Wrong. The body was made from waste cotton fibre bonded with phenol resin. It's a great material - light, strong, reasonably eco-friendly, non-corrosive. It's not a million miles from carbon fibre or even what this article is talking about. The rest of the Trabant was a conventional spot-welded steel monocoque.

It's lazy stereotyping to mock the Trabant without actually looking at how it was made. Sure, the design was dated and yes, the engines were terrible, but they were reliable and cheap, and actually a much more efficient car than most of the gas-guzzlers made in the west.

My main gripe about the Trabant's build quality was the poor panel fit, but that's not an inherent drawback of the materials it was made from, just a side-effect of somewhat old-fashioned tooling.

Ah Brave New World! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089479)

All the geeks that swallowed the 1960s space dreams hook, line and sinker are going to have a heart attack when they realize that future is never happening!

We're heading towards a bio nano revolution! Along with everybody else in the human race right here on Earth !

This article ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#47089509)

... is giving me a woody [askmissa.com]

Properties? (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 4 months ago | (#47089561)

Any list of the relative properties of carbon reinforced epoxy and epoxy impregnated bamboo? Density, strength, elastic modulus, impact strength etc?

People use carbon fiber where its high strength / weight and stiffness / weight improve the overall performance and efficiency of a vehicle. Is bamboo as good?

Re:Properties? (2)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 4 months ago | (#47089673)

PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL, AND ME CHANICAL PROPERTIES OF BAMBOO AND ITS UTILIZATION POTENTIAL FOR FIBERBOARD MANUFACTURING [telenet.be]

That was the first result of about 299,000 for the simple Google query "physical properties of bamboo." Have a nice day.

Re:Properties? (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 4 months ago | (#47089833)

Thank you. That is for standard bamboo which is about 30X weaker than graphite reinforced epoxy. I hope that isn't what they are thinking of using as a replacement.....

If it is, then they are being silly if they are considering it for anything other than decorative or special purpose (like damping) applications.

bamboo topic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089617)

River bamboo is pretty obnoxious and every couple years volunteers go around and chop and poison it in local canals. Only thing its good for is making reeds for woodwind instruments (a quality variety of river bamboo) and fun simple flutes.

Other bamboos are excellent for construction and making useful implements. Flooring for example.

I planted several thick walled and tall growing plants from culms on my property that I use for general construction. Too thick walled for flutes, a little heavy for surf fishing poles, but practically as strong as steel for some things. I have a bamboo walking stick much more trustworthy than a pine or oak stick. Watch almost any Chinese Kung Fu movie and you see bamboo used for high scaffolding on serious construction.

If you let them, some bamboos can spread with disastrous results, like river bamboo (arundo). In early California days, arundo was used by farmers to reinforce banks of water ways, but now its a noxious problem. Took me 3 years to get rid of it on my property when I moved here, but since my neighbors didn't, I still have to contain it periodically.

Re:bamboo topic (2)

ledow (319597) | about 4 months ago | (#47089729)

Amen.

In my previous house, bamboo was all over the back garden. You couldn't get rid of it. Every summer we'd cut it all down and burn it, and every winter it would come back. Sometimes even in the same summer. You could walk over the grass and suddenly impale yourself upon an 2-inch-tall bamboo shoot that was taking root - no kidding.

It grew so fast that you had to get every bit or a few weeks later you'd have a stem that you need a hacksaw to cut through. And it could easily grow 6-8 feet tall and become a hazard.

Pretty much ruined the tiny garden we had. The stuff is a pain, and that was just in the UK.

Useful construction material, no doubt, but we've known that for thousands of years. The problem is that where it falls short is biodegradement, so you have to do unnatural things to it so that it won't biodegrade. And farming it properly is no mean feat if you care about the surrounding lands not becoming unofficial bamboo farms too.

I'd happily build a house, or a tree house, or just about anything from it. But don't put one seed of it near my back garden, thanks.

Nobody uses CF anymore (1, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47089751)

It's all about SD and microSD these days.

Re:Nobody uses CF anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47090443)

Yup, that was a terrible joke.

To answer the heading's question directly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47089851)

No.

Hemp (4, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#47089937)

Henry Ford specified hemp fiber-based panels for his cars a hundred years ago, but a psychopathic government leveraged its corruption [cato.org] to benefit the tree pulp and synthetic fibers bosses, while claiming it was about social values.

IIRC you'd need a blunt 4' long and 18" across to get a buzz from hemp, and you'd die from smoke inhalation first. It's a great cash crop for farmers, can grow in less fertile soil (while improving it), produces Omega-3 "on the vine" and is far more productive per-acre than trees. So, a clear economic threat to those friends of the powerful.

It also makes fantastic long, strong fibers, once considered essential to national security [youtube.com] .

Re:Hemp (4, Informative)

dryeo (100693) | about 4 months ago | (#47090157)

IIRC you'd need a blunt 4' long and 18" across to get a buzz from hemp, and you'd die from smoke inhalation first.

All depends on the variety with modern hemp strains bred for low psycho-activity to make it more acceptable. That along with allowing the males to flourish and fertilize the females produces hemp that won't get you high.
Hemp is a wonder plant, the fiber is very useful, the plast left over from extracting the fiber also has numerous uses including plastic like. The seeds have a high oil content, a very high grade oil useful for industrial uses, as well as for food containing all the essential oils and the seeds are one of the few sources of complete proteins, much like soybeans. Basically you could live a long time on nothing but hemp.
Then there are the recreational and medicinal uses of the psycho-active strains.

Re:Hemp (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 4 months ago | (#47090297)

Actually, composite materials built with hemp fiber as almost as strong as carbon fiber composites and definitely way more biodegradable. I would not be surprised that the major auto manufacturers are looking at going with hemp fiber composites for body panels within the next ten years in an effort to lower the weight of an automobile without the expense of making the lightweight body panels out of carbon fiber.

alternative dept (1)

surd1618 (1878068) | about 4 months ago | (#47089967)

late-because-panda-ate-steering-column

Carbon and Fiber (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 4 months ago | (#47090169)

Well bamboo is primarily made of carbon, and it is fiberous... so now we can apply the term "carbon fiber" to anything made out of wood, I guess.

Dang! (1)

Grand Facade (35180) | about 4 months ago | (#47090343)

I should have taken that basket weaving class!

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