Closing the carbon cycle may be easier to do with a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) product developed by Covestro (Leverkusen, Germany). With Desmopan 37385A, the company now offers the first representative of a new series of TPUs containing polyether carbonate polyols based on CO2 technology.
Compared to conventional TPU materials, the new TPU products leave a lower carbon footprint and help close the carbon cycle; unlike many bio-based materials, they do not compete with food production.
“With the new TPU, our customers can reduce the carbon footprint of their products and, as a result, play a pioneering role in sustainability vis-à-vis their competitors,” explained Georg Fuchte, TPU Expert at Covestro. “This is especially true for companies in the consumer goods industry, which often manufacture products with a short lifespan.”
Desmopan 37385A has a hardness of 85 Shore A. Its mechanical properties are at least at the level of conventional TPU grades of similar hardness, noted Covestro, and even exceed some of them. It has a tensile strength of 36 megapascals and its elongation at break reaches 660 percent. The plastic is designed for extrusion, but is also suitable for injection molding.
“The application spectrum covers typical applications of conventional TPU grades with comparable hardness and ranges from soles and upper shoe components to sportswear, handles and knobs to packaging for sensitive electronics,” said Fuchte.
Covestro plans to expand the new TPU series with variants of different hardness. A product with a hardness of 95 Shore A, for example, whose melt cures rapidly during processing, is well advanced in development. “We are, thus, targeting applications in which economic production in short cycle times is particularly important,” explained Fuchte.
Covestro cooperates closely with companies and research institutions to use CO2 technology as a synthesis platform for other large-scale chemical raw materials. Work is underway on new CO2-based polyols for rigid polyurethane foams that could be used, for example, in the thermal insulation of buildings and in automobiles and sports equipment. At its Dormagen, Germany, plant, Covestro already operates a production plant that produces CO2-based polyols for flexible polyurethane foams used in the commercial production of upholstered furniture and mattresses.
Covestro is showcasing its new TPU at Fakuma, hall B4, booth 4206.