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.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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