William, materials used in passenger cars, or in any vehicle used by citizens/consumers, are strictly regulated. I'd be very surprised if these hadn't been already tested for flammability. Test procedures these days can be very sophisticate and thorough.
Nadine, thanks for that definition and info. Bioplastics makers have usually worked hard to make sure their products *don't* smell like the feedstocks, for example, in the case of algae-based bioplastics. Most of them don't come from particularly good-smelling sources, or they come from relatively neutral-smelling ones. I doubt if ambient scenting has entered manufacturers' radar screens yet. Most of the effort to date has been getting processes scaled and materials up to par.
Ann, My concern about fire resistance is that this is a new material without a lot of history, so how it performs is not well known. And about the biodiesel fuel attacking the plastic, the concept of "like disolves like" is hard to ignore. It may indeed not be a problem, but that will depend on the similarity of the molecular structures. Sometimes things don't work exactly the way folks thought that they would. Now we do simulations, previously we did prototypes.
Ambient scenting is sometimes called scent marketing. We're all very familiar with it. When a store "smells like Christmas" or suddenly the smell of fresh baked cookies wafts through a mall making us seek out sweets, we're reacting to scent marketing.
New car smell is so popular that it's part of the vernacular. Ambient scenting is used in consumer products in smaller ways, i.e. scratch and sniff jeans for kids.
Personally, I'd tie the scent to the component that the bio-plastic is derived from if it's appealing. Other choices could be to ink it to the colour. Red=strawberries, brown=chocolate, cream=jasmine, green=grass or apples, etc.
William, I think skepticism is good. But plastics that are processed at high temperatures only melt at high temperatures. Fabrics already in use in many cars, no matter what they are made of, start burning at lower temperatures. And there's no particular reason to think a biodiesel spill will affect plastic car parts and worse than a perto-based diesel spill would. So I'm not sure what your concern is about these materials vs others already in use.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicleís parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but thatís just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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