How bee know-how is keeping valuables safe

The humble beehive has inspired our engineers to develop the “Honeycomb Shelf” – a lightweight, secret boot shelf with a strength-to-weight-ratio stronger than steel.

Developed for Ford's new EcoSport SUV and designed to conceal valuables that may be fragile, the adjustable shelf can support loads of more than 300 kg – heavier than three average adult men, even wearing full beekeeping kit – but weighing less than 3 kg.

Assistant chief engineer Bettina Veith
Nature is like one big innovation laboratory, and from bees to termites to beavers, animals are some of the world’s best engineers. The honeycomb’s ability to deliver strength without adding weight has already been put to good use in space rockets, jet planes and supercars.
To create the “Honeycomb Shelf”, engineers sandwiched a layer of honeycomb-like cells consisting of recycled paper and a water-based glue between two layers of light and durable fibreglass.  The lightweight solution also benefits fuel efficiency.

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