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Science, chemistry, renewable resources, philanthropy and robots – each is involved with The Dow Chemical Company's launch of a new biodegradable, partially renewable bio hydraulic fluid.
DOW SYMBIO is a new offering for hydraulic equipment operators that is made from more than 50 percent canola oil and advanced polyalkaline chemistry from Dow. Hydraulics provide the "muscle" for everything from car brakes, to elevators, dockside cranes and even high school robots. Dow donated material resources – including DOW SYMBIO – to the Midland, Mich., robotics team, which is using DOW SYMBIO in its latest invention.
How Hydraulics Work
Robot "muscles" are typically made of hydraulic cylinders that are filled with fluids. When the hydraulic fluid flows into hydraulic cylinders, the increased pressure pushes the piston at the other end. Fluid power has the highest power density of any technology.
Therefore, hydraulics can accomplish things that are not possible to do with electronic motors. A good place to see hydraulic power – other than your own car's brakes – is in elevators, car lifts or bulldozers.
Renewable Ingredients in DOW SYMBIO
Based on more than 50 percent canola oil and polyalkaline glycol chemistry from Dow, DOW SYMBIO is readily biodegradable and can also help users meet strict environmental regulations – while ensuring industrial equipment is protected against wear. While high school robots are not the typical application for DOW SYMBIO, stationary dockside equipment for loading cargo ships or even equipment used for offshore oil platforms or rides at amusement parks can benefit from the performance characteristics of DOW SYMBIO.
The superior environmental performance of DOW SYMBIO as a partially renewable material – which biodegrades rapidly in the aquatic environment – makes it a preferred material for these demanding applications in environmentally sensitive environments.
High School Robots
As a way to further test the hydraulic fluid and work with local high school students, Dow donated materials and other resources to the Midland High School Robotics Team in Midland, Mich.
Of course, the traditional romantic portrayal of the robot is as an anthropomorphic, autonomous entity that possesses intelligence and walks and talks in a way that mimics human behavior. Instead, the overwhelming majority of robots are anchored to one point.
The purpose of robotics technology is essentially to carry out repetitive, physically demanding and potentially dangerous manual activities so that humans are relieved from these tasks. Examples of these chores include working on factory production line assembly, handling hazardous materials and dealing with hostile environments like mines, underwater construction sites and even other planets like Mars.
With support from Dow, high school students from Dow High School and Midland High School, both in Midland, are building a robot that uses chemistry from the company to help deliver power and work. The robotics team is nicknamed "The Charge", while the robot they invented is nicknamed "The Diamond Putt Bott". The robot uses hydraulic powered robotics and computer programming to putt a golf ball.
Dow is committed to chemistry, science and the communities where it operates – like the one in Midland. Donating materials, time and other resources helps strengthen Dow's relationships with local neighbors. Even more, collaboration like this prepares students for careers in science. Dow's work is part of a larger down payment on a better future for everyone.