US – The OEM’s researchers will study the special abilities of the gecko to explore new solutions for interior adhesives which will improve sustainability. Ford said it will partner with Proctor & Gamble (P&G) as both companies look to bio-mimicry “for a host of business solutions”.
The gecko is being taken as a model for product development because its specially adapted toe pads enable it to adhere to almost any surface, without liquids or surface tension, as well as to release itself without leaving any residue. These capabilities allow the average gecko weighing just 2.5 ounces to support 293 pounds – and could inspire a range of adhesive innovations for worldwide applications, according to Debbie Mielewski, Ford’s senior technical leader for plastics and sustainability research.
One key sustainability challenge for vehicle-makers is that the glue used to attach foams to plastics and metals can make disassembly for recycling extremely difficult. “Solving this problem could provide cost savings and certainly environmental savings,” said Mielewski. “It means we could increase the recycling of more foam and plastics, and further reduce our environmental footprint.” Ford’s gecko project could lead to the development of innovative fabric technologies for vehicle interiors.
“As we look to further our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint, taking a holistic, biomimetic approach makes sense because nature has efficiencies in design and uses minimal resources,” commented Carol Kordich, global sustainable fabric strategies and development, Ford. “Nature is the ultimate guide.”