Ford, BASF & Grandmas Know: Castor Oil Is Good for You

Back in the day, grandmothers everywhere “prescribed” a tablespoon or two of castor oil to their grandchildren for. . .well, let’s just say “tummy aches.” Too bad that was then and this is now, because now castor oil is being deployed as a foaming agent in a material BASF is supplying Ford with for the instrument panel in the 2012 Ford Focus. “Working with BASF, we now can offer our North American customers the new Ford Focus with the industry’s first seamless soft-touch instrument panel that’s stronger, better-looking and better on the environment.

Back in the day, grandmothers everywhere “prescribed” a tablespoon or two of castor oil to their grandchildren for. . .well, let’s just say “tummy aches.”

Too bad that was then and this is now, because now castor oil is being deployed as a foaming agent in a material BASF is supplying Ford with for the instrument panel in the 2012 Ford Focus.

“Working with BASF, we now can offer our North American customers the new Ford Focus with the industry’s first seamless soft-touch instrument panel that’s stronger, better-looking and better on the environment. Castor oil from plants helps deliver sustainable interior foam that reduces petroleum use while improving vehicle craftsmanship,” explained Bari Brown, Ford advanced product development engineer.

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Compared to the material it replaces, it is more durable, exhibiting a 36% better tensile strength, a 5% improved tear strength, and nearly a 12% reduction in elongation.

What’s more, the manufacturing process is improved as the castor oil-based foam takes 43% less time to cure.

Joel Johnson, vice president, BASF Polyurethane Systems said, “Finding a sustainable product that saves more than 5,000 barrels of oil for every 300,000 Ford Focus models produced in North America is a very exciting solution for all of us.”

Ford points out that the castor oil “does not compete with food sources.”

If only all those grandmas had known that it isn’t the sort of thing you wanted to have to swallow, regardless of whether your nose was pinched shut or not.