Edited by Mary C. Gannon

As it launched its new new biodegradable, partially renewable bio hydraulic fluid, The Dow Chemical Co. stepped in to help students power an autonomous robot.Dow helps robot

The company’s SYMBIO is made from more than 50% Canola (rapeseed) oil and advanced polyalkylene chemistry. It is readily biodegradable and can also help users meet strict environmental regulations, while ensuring that industrial equipment is protected against wear.

Although high school robots are not the typical application for SYMBIO, Dow officials recognized an opportunity to further test the hydraulic fluid.

Students learn that the robot’s “muscles” are hydraulic cylinders filled with fluid. When hydraulic fluid flows into cylinder, pressure pushes the cylinder’s piston from one end to the other. They also learn that hydraulics has the highest power density of power transmission, allowing it toaccommodate applications not possible with electric motors.

High school students from Dow High School and Midland High School in Midland, Mich. are building a robot that uses chemistry from Dow to help deliver power and work. The robotics team is nicknamed “The Charge” and the robot they invented is nicknamed ‘The Diamond Putt Bott.” The robot uses hydraulic-powered robotics and computer programming to putt a golf ball.