Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BASF Launches Transparent PESU Reflector for Automotive Interior Lighting Application

For the reflector used in an automotive interior lighting application, the international automotive supplier Delphi has recently started to employ a high-performance plastic from BASF. After being injection molded, the complex and highly detailed part is metalized by means of physical vapor deposition (PVD), a process with demanding requirements for the plastic. The relatively new Ultrason E 2010 MR is a polyether sulfone (PESU) characterized by its good mold release properties. The reflector is manufactured by Goletz GmbH, located in Kierspe (Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia).

For this small and complicated part, ease of demolding is especially important, since it could otherwise be removed from the injection mold only with difficulty or possibly even not at all. BASF has succeeded in combining a variety of properties in this material: it offers not only excellent mold release characteristics, but as a high-temperature material it also easily withstands a continuous service temperature of 180 °C, and briefly even 220 °C. Moreover, it exhibits very good adhesion to aluminum, the material with which it is metalized in this case. In addition, the plastic is also very transparent, allowing it to be used unrealized as well. This makes it a candidate for fryer cover applications or other design-oriented household products where this combination of properties and good appearance are a requirement. Therefore, Ultrason E 2010 MR also has the necessary approvals for food contact applications.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

LANXESS & Gevo Collaborate to Develop Butyl Rubber from Renewable Biomass Feedstocks

One of the most intriguing working relationships in the search for renewable biomass feedstocks is the partnership of Gevo, a renewable chemicals company in Colorado, USA, and LANXESS, who intends to open up alternative resources for the production of butyl rubber.
Together, scientists from LANXESS and Gevo are now making good progress in producing isobutene a key raw material for butyl rubber from renewable resources. Traditionally, isobutene has been produced in steam crackers, which require various petrochemical-based materials for feedstock. But the LANXESS-Gevo partnership is now pioneering a unique method that may hold the key to the sustainable production of isobutene.
Researchers at LANXESS have now created a breakthrough dehydration process that converts isobutanol into isobutene. In this process, water is removed from the isobutanol. The result is biologically obtained isobutene. The dehydration process has not only proven to be successful in the laboratory, but has also undergone several months of practical testing in a small-scale reactor at LANXESS' site in Leverkusen, Germany. These tests have shown that the process can deliver bio-based butyl rubber that meets the rigorous standards of the tire industry, which represents 25 percent of LANXESS' sales. In the long term, bio-renewable isobutene will account for half of LANXESS synthetic rubber production at its plant in Sarnia, Canada. Heitmann stated: "As the world's largest purchaser of isobutene, it is only prudent that we seek alternate supply options from renewable sources as a counterweight to fossil fuels. It underpins our commitment to Green Chemistry."

Bayer Launches Polymer-based Blast-resistant Transparent Structural Shield for Buildings

Bayer MaterialScience LLC's Hygard® BL80 Shock-Wave Sentinel is certified with a Developmental Testing and Evaluation Designation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act.
The DHS certification recognizes Hygard® BL80 a blast-resistant transparent structural shield for buildings as a promising anti-terrorism technology. Additionally, the certification limits a building owner's legal liability for installing and utilizing the technology. 

DHS performed a thorough review of Bayer's Hygard® BL80 innovative design, product development, performance testing, and quality management systems. "The DHS sets a high threshold to qualify for this certification, both for the new solution's potential contribution to U.S. security, and confidence in Bayer's ability to effectively deliver the new technology," said Mike Gallagher, Leader, Public Sector Business, Bayer MaterialScience LLC. "Receiving the DHS Developmental Testing and Evaluation Designation for the Hygard® BL80 is tremendously gratifying."
"Hygard® BL80 is inherently transparent, lending itself to an 'open architectural appearance,' but can also be decorated as desired. We think this aesthetic flexibility in a new standard of protection will be especially pleasing for building owners who are looking for a cost-effective alternative to relocation or new construction," said Roger Rumer, Marketing Leader, Public Sector Business, Bayer MaterialScience LLC.
"Hygard® BL80's potential ability to absorb the force of an external blast to protect a structure, its occupants, and provide operational continuity for critical infrastructure makes it an appealing solution for government agencies," said Bob Pyles, Co-Inventor and Pursuit Team Leader, Hygard® Structural Integrity Systems. "We look forward to being able to contribute to our nation's safety."
Hygard® BL80 is comprised of laminated, transparent polymer panels attached to a structural steel frame that is supported on a concrete foundation. Shock-range and open-tube testing demonstrated Hygard® BL80 can withstand 80 psi peak pressure and 380 psi-msec impulse, well above the most challenging known standards. The blast-resistant structural shield is the first product launch from Bayer's Public Sector Business, which offers integrated products, manufactured according to ISO-9001 compliant processes and procedures, and services that will help government entities meet challenges through materials innovation in the areas of construction and infrastructure, health, security, sustainability and transportation.
"This Public Sector Business builds on the success of Bayer's Government Services Group, which has completed federally funded research and development projects totaling $2 million, and has commitments for another $3 million," Rumer said. "The Public Sector Business will continue to provide research and development services to fulfill government grants, but will also work directly to provide the benefits of our innovative materials to the needs of government entities."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Case Western Researchers Develop CNT Reinforced Polyurethane Blades for Wind Turbines

Efforts to build larger wind turbines able to capture more energy from the air are stymied by the weight of blades. A Case Western Reserve University researcher has built a prototype blade that is substantially lighter and eight times tougher and more durable than currently used blade materials.
Marcio Loos, a Post-doctoral Researcher in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, works with colleagues at Case Western Reserve, and investigators from Bayer MaterialScience in Pittsburgh, and Molded Fiber Glass Co. in Ashtabula, Ohio, comparing the properties of new materials with the current standards used in blade manufacturing.
On his own, Loos went to the lab on weekends and built the world's first polyurethane blade reinforced with carbon nanotubes. He wanted to be sure the composite that was scoring best on preliminary tests could be molded into the right shape and maintains properties. Using a small commercial blade as a template, he manufactured a 29-inch blade that is substantially lighter, more rigid and tougher.
"The idea behind all this is the need to develop stronger and lighter materials which will enable manufacturing of blades for larger rotors," Loos said.
In order to achieve the expansion expected in the market for wind energy, turbines need a bigger share of the wind. But, simply building larger blades isn't a smart answer. The heavier the blades, the more wind is needed to turn the rotor. That means less energy is captured. And the more the blades flex in the wind, the more they lose the optimal shape for catching moving air, so, even less energy is captured. Lighter, stiffer blades enable maximum energy and production.
"Results of mechanical testing for the carbon nanotube reinforced polyurethane show that this material outperforms the currently used resins for wind blades applications," said Ica Manas-Zloczower, Professor of Macromolecular Science and Engineering and Associate Dean in the Case School of Engineering.
In a comparison of reinforcing materials, the researchers found carbon nanotubes are lighter per unit of volume than carbon fiber and aluminum and had more than 5 times the tensile strength of carbon fiber and more than 60 times that of aluminum.
Fatigue testing showed the reinforced polyurethane composite lasts about eight times longer than epoxy reinforced with fiberglass. The new material was also about eight times tougher in delamination fracture tests. The performance in each test was even better when compared to vinyl ester reinforced with fiberglass, another material used to make blades.
The new composite also has shown fracture growth rates at a fraction of the rates found for traditional epoxy and vinyl ester composites. Loos and the rest of the team are continuing to test for the optimal conditions for the stable dispersion of nanotubes, the best distribution within the polyurethane and methods to make that happen.
The functional prototype blades built by Loos, which were used to turn a 400-watt turbine, will be stored in our laboratory, Manas-Zloczower said. "They will be used to emphasize the significant potential of carbon nanotube reinforced polyurethane systems for use in the next generation of wind turbine blades."
The research is funded by a U.S. Department of Energy stimulus grant and Bayer MaterialScience.

Friday, September 9, 2011

ORTHOCON Selects Bezwada's PUs & PAs to Develop Products for Bone Applications

ORTHOCON, Inc., a privately-held therapeutic device company, has announced the signing of an exclusive, worldwide license agreement with Bezwada Biomedical to develop and commercialize Bezwada's technology for bone applications.
Bezwada Biomedical is an innovation-driven company with proprietary technology platforms comprised of bioabsorbable and biocompatible polyurethanes and polyamides derived from hydrolysable isocyanates. This technology can be utilized to create absorbable surgical devices for a variety of applications including structural support, fixation, and drug delivery, with the potential to address significant limitations of existing therapeutic modalities.
John J. Pacifico, President and Chief Executive Officer of ORTHOCON, commented, "This strategic partnership is another important milestone for ORTHOCON as it significantly enhances the company's technological capabilities and product pipeline." He added, "Bezwada Biomedical has invented new technology that clearly improves upon existing marketed products, and we are very pleased to be working with Dr. Bezwada and his team to develop and commercialize additional devices that address the needs of our surgeon customers. We are delighted to partner with ORTHOCON to develop and commercialize an important part of our technology for bone applications," stated Rao Bezwada, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Bezwada Biomedical.

"Given ORTHOCON's financial, technical, and commercial capabilities, we believe this is the right step to move our technology forward and we are thrilled to be working with the ORTHOCON team." Richard Kronenthal, Ph.D., ORTHOCON's Founder, Chief Scientific Officer, and principal technology inventor, previously worked with Dr. Bezwada to develop several market-leading products. Commenting on this strategic partnership, Dr. Kronenthal stated, "Having known and worked with Dr. Bezwada for many years, and having assessed the advantages of his materials relative to other marketed technologies, I am enthusiastic about the new roads we are taking together to overcome important problems in orthopedic and other surgical specialties."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fraunhofer Engineers Develop Battery Box Made of Fiber-reinforced Composite for Electric Vehicles

Everyone is talking about electric drives, and the scientists from Fraunhofer are also working on them. Engineers have replaced a battery box for lithium-ion batteries with a lightweight component. Not only does the housing save weight and sustain no damage in an accident for the first time ever, it can also be mass-produced.
If an electric car wants to be environmentally friendly it must weigh as little as possible, because when the light turns green every additional pound/kilogram must be accelerated with considerable energy expenditure. And the lighter the electric vehicle, the longer it can be on the road without having to be plugged back into a power outlet. To advance the symbiosis between electromobility and lightweight construction, engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal, Germany, are developing manufacturing concepts that have one goal they want to gradually replace individual components in the vehicle with lightweight ones. "However, this cannot affect the stability or the safety of the passenger," said Manfred Reif, Project Manager in the joint project "Fraunhofer System Research for Electromobility."
The fact that this is possible is proven by the researchers with the Artega GT, a sports car that was modified into a prototype with an electric drive, where the electric motor is located in the rear. The experts, along with colleagues from the Fraunhofer Institutes for Mechanics of Materials IWM, for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF and for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach Institut EMI, have developed a mass-production-ready, crash-safe battery housing that meets strict requirements. The battery housing that surrounds the battery that weighs 340 kilograms (749.57 lbs.) only weighs 35 kilograms (77.16 lbs.). "Traditional solutions made of steel weigh up to 25 percent more," said Reif. "The battery housing can withstand a crash, assuming a ten-fold gravitational acceleration." And even if a sharp object collides with the housing at 60 km/h (45mph), the highly sensitive battery on the inside remains intact. In addition, the 16 lithium-ion modules are protected from humidity, and a semi-permeable membrane to equalize pressure also guarantees that the batteries are able to "breathe."
What make the new battery protection so special are the new fiber-reinforced composite materials. Currently, steel components are welded together to make these boxes. "However, it must be possible to mass-produce the lightweight components," explained Reif. "Up to now, this has not been possible in this form." Fiber composites have been used for a long time in the manufacturing of airplanes; however, only a few hundred are built every year. But as far as cars are concerned, this number could be several thousand daily, and mass production involves completely different requirements as far as materials are concerned. For this reason, the scientists have developed a special process chain with cycle times that make the production of high unit counts possible. "The process chain is designed so that many steps can be run simultaneously," said Reif. For example, the plastic is heated up parallel to the production step, and elements are prepared that ensure load and tensile strength or the attachment to the storage in the rear of the Artega. This includes, for example, directionally oriented fiberglass structures or custom-made metal inserts. All the individual components are then assembled and pressed together in a "one-shot process."

Gurit's Carbon Composite Gets ISO / TS 16949 Certification for its Use in Automotive Industry

Gurit, one of the leading manufacturers of carbon composite body panels for the automotive industry has secured Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance approval for ISO / TS 16949:2009.
ISO / TS 16949 is an ISO technical specification, which aligns existing American, German, French and Italian automotive quality systems standards within the global automotive industry, with the aim of eliminating the need for multiple certifications to satisfy customer requirements. ISO / TS 16949 details the management system requirements for the design/development, production, installation and servicing of automotive-related products.
The new accreditation now identifies Gurit as well-structured, stable, and credible world-class automotive tier 1 supplier, aligned to OEM processes. By achieving this accreditation, it proves that Gurit has a strong management system, dedicated to continuous improvement, and highlights Gurit's serious intent to the on-going automotive business. Kees Reijnen, General Manager Transport comments, "This milestone demonstrates that we have transferred the supply of composite components to automotive OEM's from a skilled art into an industrial process. Gurit now provides a transparent and robust process." The accreditation follows the recent announcement, that Gurit has secured a significant parts supply contract for automotive body panels with an existing customer, running from 2012 through to 2016.