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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Acura is revealing its next-gen MDX slowly, first with this, the MDX Prototype.

Photo courtesy of Acura

The MDX is the best-selling Acura in the lineup. It's also America's best-selling luxury three-row SUV. But that's not good enough.

Acura is redesigning the MDX and as it prepares to enter a fourth generation, a prototype of the new SUV will be shown on October 14. This looks to follow the same pattern as the TLX launch, which saw a prototype revealed about six months before the true model debut, just after the PMC Edition was put on sale.

Acura says that the next-gen MDX will usher in " new levels of Acura design, performance, technology and craftsmanship, assuming the mantle as the brand's new flagship model". And that's a good thing. The brand revolution that started with the RDX and continued with the TLX looks to go even further in a bid to re-establish Acura on its premium model throne.

The ofirst MDX was the industry's first three-row SUV based on a unibody platform, a design that has since gone mainstream as crossovers and lifestyle SUVs overrun a vehicle type that started as rugged off-roaders and family trucksters. Since it's debut, the MDX has garnered praise from buyers and critics alike including winning the 2001 North American Truck of the Year and 2001 Motor Trend SUV of the Year awards.

Over the past two decades, cumulative sales have surpassed 1 million units, securing MDX's place as the best-selling Acura model, accounting for roughly one-third of the brand's U.S. sales since its launch.

"We're accelerating Acura's commitment to Precision Crafted Performance and this fourth-generation MDX is the most ambitious and consequential redesign of an Acura core model in our history," said Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. "This all-new MDX will take us into new territory in terms of performance, prestige and emotional appeal."

The teaser image (above) and video (below) that were released today highlight the sharply sculpted beltline running the perimeter of the wider, lower and longer MDX, connecting the Jewel Eye LED headlights at the front to the Chicane LED taillights in the rear.

The MDX Prototype pulls heavily from the RDX and TLX with design nods to each. Still, it's unmistakably a three-row SUV. Though we don't know for sure what's under the hood, expect the MDX to have more a dynamic driving style when it debuts, following in the vein of the RDX and TLX redesigns.

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Toyota Mall of Georgia, one of AutoNation's dealerships, has raised money to support the caregivers at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of AutoNation

You know the pink license plate brackets and the pink-leather jacket clad spokeswoman. All that pink is paying off. AutoNation announced that it has raised $25 million for cancer research and treatment through its Drive Pink (DRV PNK) Initiative. Drive Pink launched in 2015.

In 2020 alone, DRV PNK funds have been invested in seven major research projects through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world. BRCF focuses their efforts in six different areas: tumor biology, treatment, survivorship, metastasis, lifestyle and prevention, and heredity and ethnicity.

"AutoNation has played a valuable role in enabling BCRF to be at the vanguard of every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship," said Mrya Biblowit, BCRF President and CEO.

"Every October, we celebrate all that we have accomplished through DRV PNK" said Mike Jackson, AutoNation's Chairman and CEO. "This year, we've taken our mission to new levels, thanks to the incredible support of our Customers, our Associates and our partners."

As part of its DRV PNK efforts, AutoNation works to raise awareness of breast cancer. The company sponsored NTT Indycar Series drivers Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi, and Marco Andretti who were behind the wheel of vehicles wearing pink liveries.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and AutoNation will be stepping up its efforts throughout the month. Expect to see ad campaigns reflecting such. The company's annual DRV PNK Across America Day by selecting local cancer treatment facilities to receive care bags for patients battling cancer.

For longtime AutoNation Associate and breast cancer survivor, Lisa Logan, DRV PNK is personal. "Sadly, just about everyone has been touched by cancer. I am so proud to work for a company that not only supported me throughout my journey, but that also supports such an important cause."

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