Ford explores extensions of rice hull components

Rice hulls that replace talc in an electrical cowl bracket in Ford F Series trucks are now being studied for potential use in other vehicles at Ford as well as other automotive applications. Ford engineer David Raicevich says that initial targets are nonvisible wire harness parts.

"Rice hulls were chosen because they are readily available, consistent in composition and have a fast growing cycle," says Raicevich. Rice hulls are a byproduct of rice grain. It's estimated that 10,000 pounds of hulls will be used for the bracket in the first year. The hulls are bought from farms in Arkansas and are supplied in a composite made by RheTech (Whitmore Lake, MI)

Other natural fillers, such as kenaf and wood were studied, but rice hulls had several advantages including low moisture absorbtion and the lowest probability to require tool modifications....