Covestro is offering the first thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) under the name of cardyon ™, as part of a series in which it is currently working with polyether polyols based on CO2 technology. The series is called Desmopan® and this is the brand under which the company is developing and marketing new polyether carbonate polyols made with the help of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Compared to conventional TPU materials, the new TPUs generate a smaller carbon footprint and help close the carbon cycle. In addition, they contribute to preserve fossil resources and, contrary to what happens with many materials of organic origin, these do not impact the production of food.
“With the new TPU our customers can reduce their products carbon footprint and, as a result, be at the forefront of sustainability compared to competing companies,” Georg Fuchte, an expert in TPU at Covestro explained. “This is especially relevant,” he adds, “in the case of companies in the consumer goods sector that often manufacture products with a short life cycle.”
The properties of this thermoplastic polyurethane
The Desmopan® 37385A has a hardness of Shore A 85. Its mechanical properties reach, at least, the hardness levels of conventional TPUs, surpassing even some of them. This product has, for example, a tensile strength of 36 megapascals and the breaking stress reaches 660% (DIN 53504).
This plastic has been designed for use in extrusion but is also suitable for use in injection molding. “Its applications include typical uses of conventional TPUs with comparable hardness levels and range from shoe soles and top-of-the-foot elements to sports apparel, handles and door handles or packaging material for delicate electronic products ” Fuchte said.
From thermal insulation to the manufacture of mattresses
Covestro plans to expand the new TPU series with variants of different hardness levels. “We are focusing on applications where efficient production in short cycles is really essential,” Fuchte said.
The close collaboration with companies and research centers to use CO2 technology as a synthesis platform for other raw materials of chemical origin on a large scale is core in Covestro´s activity. In this regard, the company is currently working on new polyols based on CO2 for rigid polyurethane foams that could be used, for example, for thermal insulation in buildings, cars and sports equipment. In Dormagen (Germany), the company has a production plant for the production of polyols based on CO2 for flexible polyurethane foams used for the commercial production of upholstered furniture and mattresses.
Other advances in the petrochemical sector
Other innovative advances for the use of TPU in the petrochemical sector, include uniform and bright fibers of TPU and polyamide for fabrics. These fibers offer a unique sensation and are used, mainly, in sports shoes, where the use of this type of fabrics in the upper part of the footwear has become fashionable. In addition, it offers a wide variety of decorative options. These fabrics can be produced economically in a single production process including automated production.
The high image accuracy of the Desmopan® series TPU products has been established for decades, but unique surfaces can also be created with the use of different technologies. Covestro is currently working together with its partner J. & F. Krüth in Solingen to open almost unlimited possibilities for surface design with the help of 3D laser digital recording.