Science

Ford has revealed the secrets of the artificial bird poop they use to test paint

Ford has revealed how its tests the effects of bird poop on its paint.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

While getting a bit of bird poo on you may be good luck in some countries, the thought of you, or your car, wearing a smidgeon from a pigeon's posterior isn't all that great. In fact, it can be quite harmful if you don't wipe it off your car quickly.

Bird poop is often white and black, but it's not all poop. The white part is uric acid, the equivalent of human urine. The poop itself is made in the digestive system and while both can be secreted at the same time, it happens with such speed that the two don't have time to mix.

That combination can degrade a vehicle's exterior, burning its way through the clear coat and, in some cases, bleaching the paint itself. Paint has evolved, like every other component in the auto industry, and automakers are finding new ways to research the effect of droppings on new paints.

Ford is using artificial bird poop.

The solution that makes up the test droppings is produced in a laboratory in Germany, and its combination of ingredients reflects the different diets of various species of bird life throughout Europe.

To test the paint hardiness, sample test panels are sprayed with the solution then aged at 40° C, 50° C and 60° C in an oven to replicate customer use in extreme heats.

The results determine what happens next.

Ford can fine-tune the pigments, resins, and additives that go into making a car's paintwork. By changing up the make-up to resist the pollutants, no matter the weather, Ford is able to offer its customers a longer-lasting paint job.

The automaker can also conduct other types of tests including a UV test, which bombards paint with ultraviolet light for up to 6,000 hours (250 days) in a light lab – simulating five years in the brightest place on Earth. They can simulate the paint being frozen in sub-zero temperatures, expose it to harsh winter road grime in a high humidity salt chamber, and simulate fuel staining.

Ford Versus Bird Poop www.youtube.com

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Balmain's Creative Director Olivier Rousteing is a Porsche fan.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

What does it mean to "drive defined"? A new series of videos from Porsche and the Creative Director of the Paris fashion label Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, explorers the meaning of the phrase. Rousteing says that he's been "fascinated" by Porsche since childhood.

The designer, who grew up in France, worked at Roberto Cavalli before becoming the Creative Director at Balmain in 2011. The powerhouse fashion brand was founded in 1945 and was previously lead by Oscar de la Renta. Modern Balmain designs feature elements of French couture mixed with Asian influence. In 2019, the brand launched the KYLIE X BALMAIN, a makeup collaboration with social media influencer Kylie Jenner.

Olivier Rousteing sits in a Porsche Panamera during the filming of the short.Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The short videos, published on Porsche's social media channels and on Rousteing's Instagram feed, focus on Rousteing's powerful inner driving force. In a release, the luxury car manufacturer says that there are "many similarities between the fashion designer and the sports car brand" including boundary pushing and an eye toward the tradition-rich history of the company Rousteing leads into the modern age.

"Olivier Rousteing is not just an authentic Porsche enthusiast, he is also a perfect fit for us with his desire to make Balmain a modern brand with the highest standards of quality and luxury," says Jelena Batic who is responsible for the cooperation at Porsche. "Together, we explore his exceptional driving force in the films by examining the connection between the worlds of sports cars and fashion, which creates relevance for our existing customers, as well as for younger and female target groups."

The series kicked off with a video featuring the Porsche Panamera. It was just the first step in a planned, longer collaboration between Rousteing and Porsche. Further aspects of the partnership are expected to be made public in due course.

Watch the first video below.

Drive Defined with Olivier Rousteing www.youtube.com

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The Hyundai Santa Cruz will debut next week but ahead of that, the design department is giving a closer look at the truck in a new video.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

We'll see the Hyundai Santa Cruz in full for the first time when it debuts on April 15 but ahead of time, Hyundai is setting the stage for expectations with the model. To help with that, the company released a video today featuring the truck's design manager discussing the inspiration for the utility vehicle.

The quick one-minute video is hosted by Brad Arnold, design manager at Hyundai North America. The Southern California native is the leader of the team that created the Santa Cruz, a project that began years ago. He's joined in the video by Senon Franco, the lead designer at Hyundai North America.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America
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As Arnold explains in the video, the design of the Santa Cruz started with a simple premise: "this is not a typical truck". Based on how Arnold describes the capabilities of the truck, that sounds true. It is meant to "thrive in dense urban environments and the open outdoors". One could argue that no full-size truck on the market today does that. Neither do most of the midsize models, though their sizing is better for that landscape.

Arnold says that the Santa Cruz is "small in size", a call that serves to remind viewers that the Santa Cruz isn't a big truck. It's more similar in size to the forthcoming Ford Maverick, a small truck that slots below the Ranger in Ford's lineup.

However, the company isn't even calling it a truck. The new model is being referred to as the Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle. This sounds a lot like how Kia is referring to the new generation of its Carnival minivan as a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).

Arnold says that the design is meant to make the Santa Cruz not look like a truck. Rather, it's supposed to look "like a Santa Cruz". Part of that includes the front end, which looks like a carryover from the fascia of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson.

Among the other secrets Hyundai is giving away ahead of the product's reveal is that there will be more than one "efficient" powertrain, a flexible bed, "cutting-edge" connectivity, and all-wheel drive.

Watch the video for yourself below.

Design Inspiration | 2022 Santa Cruz | Hyundai www.youtube.com

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