Driving Green: Bio-based Plastics Research at Ford Angela Harris Research Engineer Ford Plastics Research Group Ford’s Sustainable Materials Strategy • Vision – Ford Motor Company will ensure that our products are engineered to enable sustainable materials leadership without compromise to Product Quality, Durability, Performance or Economics. • Key Positions – Recycled and renewable materials must be selected whenever technically and economically feasible. We will encourage the best green technologies to meet the increasing demand for these materials. – When we use recycled and renewable materials, there will be no compromise to Product Quality, Durability & Performance or Economics. – We will enhance technologies, tools and enablers to help validate, select and track the use of these materials in our products. – The use of recycled and renewable content is increased year by year, model by model where possible. Research & Advanced Engineering Ford Biomaterials Research Overview Natural Fiber • thermosets • thermoplastics Biobased Resins Soy corn •foams castor beans hemp •thermoset resin sugar cane •fillers switch grass flax soybeans Research & Advanced Engineering Ford Sustainable Material Successes Soy Foam Natural Fibers Recycled Materials - Soy foam seats on - World’s first - Escape has 100% PI nearly every vehicle implementation of recycled PET fabric platform in NA wheat straw PP on - Ford Fusion and - Over 3 million Ford 2010 Ford Flex 3rd row Mercury Milan Hybrids vehicles on the road storage bin feature 85% PI yarns - Escape has soy foam - Reduces petro usage - Explorer uses 25% headliner by 20,000lbs per year recycled fiber in - 75% headrests - Reduces CO2 interior fabrics contain soy foam emissions by 30,000 - 100% usage - Reduces petroleum pound per year represents a 64% usage by 4 million reduction in energy & pounds annually a 60% CO2 reduction Research & Advanced Engineering Driving Green Solutions For All FMC Vehicles Farmers Research Universities Resin Chemical Producer Companies Compounder Tier 1 OEM Research & Advanced Engineering Dandelions • Partnering with OSU – OARDC to develop Russian Dandelion and Guayule as a source for rubber • Potential use as a rubber modifier in TPO or bio-based plastic materials for interior trim applications Research & Advanced Engineering Bio-based Resin Technologies • Finding the right Carbon dioxide Corn field Corn kernels solution for automotive interiors – Polylactide (PLA, PLA blends) • type of plastic derived from Compost 100% renewable resources such as corn, sweet potatoes, sugar cane or sugar beets Parts/Fabric Corn Sugar – Traditional polymers from PLA fibers/ resin renewable monomers Life Cycle of PLA and chemical feedstocks Photos courtesy of NatureWorks Research & Advanced Engineering Unique Technical Challenges • Automotive Interior – challenging environment – performance maintained over lifetime of vehicle – different than consumables market • PLA degradation occurs with exposure to heat & moisture – balance between durability & compostability • Previous work at Ford Research relating elevated temp and humidity conditioning to in-vehicle, in-field exposure for polymers susceptible to hydrolysis – cumulative damage models to accelerate testing at constant elevated conditions – one week exposure at 50 C /90% RH ~equivalent to 2 months exposure in FL for interior application Research & Advanced Engineering Degradation & Durability of PLA Hydrolysis Reaction of PLA: O H2O O C C R CH O R’ R CH O H + HOR’ CH3 CH3 n n The chemical repeat unit of PLA • PLA is hygroscopic • Long term durability is an issue Research & Advanced Engineering Injection Molded PLA Durability Durability: • Must meet automotive requirements for long term heat and humidity • Accelerated conditioning: – 50°C/ 90RH – want samples to retain properties Condition samples in Injection mold materials environmental Characterize samples after chamber various times GPC: Molecular Weight Flexural Testing: Strength/ Stiffness Research & Advanced Engineering PLA Durability Results: Mechanical Properties • Expected results: decrease 140 in strength at longer conditioning times 120 Flex Strength (MPa) • Correlates with decrease in 100 MW 80 • After 8 weeks samples lose 60 integrity and can no longer 40 NeatPLA_Amorphous be tested 20 Neat PLA_Crystalline • May not be the best bio- 0 resin option for auto 0 2 4 6 8 Condition Time (weeks) interiors (currently) • Continued work Quasi-static three-point bend testing – Blends, new formulation ASTM D-790 method Strain rate of 1mm/min with a 50mm span at room temperature Research & Advanced Engineering Bio-based Monomer Technology • Producing traditional plastics (PP, PE, PA, PET, PBT) from bio-based feedstocks rather petroleum – Utilize bio-chemical reactions – Good long term durability • (sacrifice compostability, but still recyclable) – Can be used in existing processes – Known performance and attributes – Reduce dependence on foreign petroleum • Local supply • Multiple material sourcing possible – Improved carbon footprint Research & Advanced Engineering Technology Overview • Traditional route to polymer production Petroleum Chemical Polymers or other catalyst Intermediates polymerization reactions synthetic or Monomers feedstocks • Bio-based route to polymer production Sugars Chemical Polymers from crops enzymes Intermediates polymerization reactions or Monomers Research & Advanced Engineering Next Steps • Continue to form collaborations with companies who are working in this space • Provide chemical producers/ material suppliers with relevant material and performance specifications • Setup partnerships between chemical producers and material suppliers • Evaluate materials and direct their development – Address key technical challenges for automotive – Monomer/ chemical characterization – Evaluate polymerized materials Research & Advanced Engineering Questions?