PU Magazine International

Ausgabe 01 | 2017


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Algae – the new green energy?

Although most of you have already forgotten the New Year (and probably your resolutions), I would like to start by wishing you all the best and especially good health for the year 2017. Regarding health, I can give you a clue that you may already know: “Algae contain large amounts of minerals and vitamins and thus exhibit high potential for preventive effects. They are supposed to strengthen the immune system, to stimulate circulation and digestion, to relax your respiratory system and to have positive impact on skin, hair and nails.” Good reasons to enjoy your algae tea every morning.

What you probably did not know before is that algae not only benefit your health, but also might be a panacea for all the world’s problems – at least according to some scientists.

“Ocean Macroalgal Afforestation (OMA) has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and in the oceans via photosynthesis. It is assumed that 12 billion tons per year of biomethane could be produced by macro-algae forests covering 9 % of the world’s ocean surface. That would be sufficient biomethane to replace all of today’s needs in fossil fuel ­energy, while removing 53 billion tons of CO2 per year from the atmosphere, restoring pre-industrial levels within about 30 years,” so Dr. Antoine de Ramon N’Yeurt from the Pacific Research Center for Environment and Sustainable Development.1

Already back in 2011, the Spanish company BFS launched the first plant in Europe to produce bio-fuel from algae, a technology that replaces a natural process that usually takes several million years to complete.2
Hopefully, methane is collected in the right channels, because as far as I know, methane is a greenhouse gas 25-times more active than CO2. Personally, I prefer to focus on classical alternative energy sources like wind energy or solar power instead of this new “algaenative” energy source. For me, it seems a lot like jumping out the frying pan into the fire.

I also read that “the frequent occurrence of algae on short trimmed turf is becoming a problem.” As a passionate golfer there are directly 18 problem zones coming to my mind. But perhaps golf players, including myself, have to rethink: We shouldn’t get hopping mad about bumpy greens covered by algae and moss, because these algae could be our contribution to save our climate.

Wolfgang Friederichs

1 See also: De Ramon N'Yeurt et al., Negative carbon via ocean afforestation, Process Safety and Environmental Protection (2012) 90: 467 – 474. (DOI: 10.1016/j.psep.2012.10.008)
2 (www.biopetroleo.com)


Taking innovation to the next level

Interview with Lauren Kjeldsen and Steve Hulme

Evonik Industries AG has completed the activities to acquire the specialty additives
business (Performance Materials Division) of the US company Air Products, Inc. for
USD 3.8 billion by the end of the year as planned (closing 3 January 2017). All relevant antitrust authorities have approved the transaction and the integration of the acquired business is underway. PU Magazine had a chance to talk with Lauren Kjeldsen, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Comfort & Insulation, Evonik Industries, and Steve Hulme, Vice President of the acquired PU Additives (PUA) business, about the impact of the acquisition on the PU industry and on the next steps of the integration process.


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The European GRP market in 2016

Continuous production volume growth in virtually all market segments

In 2016, the volume of glass fibre reinforced plastics (GRP) manufactured in the European countries considered in this report has grown by approximately 2.5 %. Growth thus has continued at the same rate as in 2015. Total production has reached approximately 1.096 million t. Growth has therefore stabilised in this largest segment of the fibre reinforced plastics and composites industry. The composites market is very heterogeneous and there are wide regional differences.


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India’s PU industry – all the right ingredients for growth

Prior to PU Tech India in Noida, 8 – 10 March 2017, PU Magazine presents an overview of the state of the PU industry in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.


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Thinking aloud – Forget 2 °C
Multi-hardness foaming with stable pressure ratios

The Vario nozzle from KraussMaffei increases process reliability when creating seat cushions

Seat cushions made of polyurethane for vehicles are equipped with multiple hardness zones. As a result, the mixing heads have to process various recipes in production. At the upholstery specialist, Proseat, the newly developed Vario nozzles from KraussMaffei have been providing stable pressure ratios and therefore high levels of reproducibility during foam production.


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Confusion 4.0 is followed by Interpretation 4.0 – Readers’ responses to our editorial

Dear Readers, after I complained in the last editorial about my lack of understanding, what actually is behind the term “Industry 4.0”, I am now delighted about your various replies and explanations on this topic. Following is a summary of a recent study published by Ernst & Young on the subject of Industry 4.0 as well as your contributions – partly abridged and in alphabetical order.


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A review of the global PU industry 2016 and outlook for 2017

2016 started well for many polyurethane manufacturers: Low raw material prices and plentiful supply, steady growth in Europe and North America and an acceptance of the “new normal” growth rate of the Chinese market. Lower prices and the effects of changes in exchange rates were counteracted by strong demand from the global automotive and construction markets. European growth was moderate. In the end, 2016 was a year of two contrasting halves, due to surprise results in the US elections and Brexit referendum, a Chinese economy which recovered and raw material supply problems in Asia and Europe.

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Global automotive market 2017

The growth of the auto industry continues in 2017, but is less driven by innovation than by positive economic developments. This year, China will continue to be the main driver of the global automotive business. While growth is to be expected in the US due to Trump effects, the development in Europe is somewhat more subdued due to factors such as dieselgate and other technological uncertainties.


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Polycarbodiimides as classification-free and easy to use crosslinkers for water-based coatings

Polycarbodiimides (CDl) selectively react with carboxylic acid (–COOH) groups in polymer chains. This type of crosslinking reaction results in a classic 3D polymer-crosslinker network. Compared to polyisocyanates, polycarbodiimides are much less sensitive to presence of water and able to achieve good pot life times. Due to the high reactivity, ­curing with CDI type crosslinkers can be done under typical oven conditions used for drying of applied coatings. In addition to standard CDI crosslinker chemistry, on offer is also a range of dual reactivity CDI crosslinkers. A second type of reactive groups is attached to the polycarbodiimide in this range. Upon curing, this crosslinker not only reacts to the –COOH groups in the polymer chains, but also two of the reactive groups attached to the separate CDI molecules can couple to form an even denser network structure. Building
further on the success of these polycarbodiimide crosslinkers, VOC-free polycarbodiimides, in aqueous delivery form, were introduced, which give extreme long pot lifes.


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Conventional and reduced-free prepolymers based on trans-1,4-H6XDI

Previously, polyurethane elastomer systems based on the new aliphatic diisocyanate, FortimoTM trans-1,4-H6XDI (trans-1,4-hydrogenated xylylene diisocyanate) were introduced. This new aliphatic diisocyanate has a very compact, linear and symmetrical structure which results in ultra high-performance properties comparable to elastomers based on naphthalene diisocyanate (NDI), p-phenylene diisocyanate (PPDI) and o-tolidine diisocyanate (TODI). In this paper, the dynamic properties of trans-1,4-H6XDI elastomers will be presented in the form of dynamometer testing results of high-load wheels. The chemical and solvent resistance properties will be shown as a function of the diisocyanate structure and composition of the soft-segment backbone. Physical/mechanical properties of trans-1,4-H6XDI prepolymers cured with aromatic diamines will be introduced. Additionally, elastomer property data for low-free and reduced-free diisocyanate monomer prepolymers will be presented.


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New advances in UV-curable soft-touch coatings

Soft-touch or soft-feel coatings are employed to create a variety of haptic effects on plastic, paper and metal substrates. Haptic effects can improve a consumer’s perceived value of the product, and influence them to buy the product over other similar products. Thus it is no wonder interest in soft-touch coatings has increased in recent years. In a previous study, inspired by two-part isocyanate systems, we demonstrated our ability to create a UV-curable soft-touch coating with good feel and improved mar, abrasion, stain, and chemical resistance compared to conventional two-part urethane coatings. This paper details the development of a range of custom designed UV-curable soft-touch products that have tailorable feel and improved properties over two-part urethane coatings.


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Aldehyde emissions from flexible molded foam

Growing concerns about the indoor air-quality of automotive vehicles has led to the imposition of stringent volatile organic compounds limits by automotive OEMs. Some OEMs are also setting limits on aldehyde emissions. Both the oxidation of raw materials used in the manufacture of polyurethane foams and the degradation of polyurethane material itself are sources of undesirable aldehydes. The Polyurethane Additive group at Air Products* has worked to develop innovative solutions to control aldehyde emissions from polyurethane foams. The results of these efforts will be discussed. This paper will also detail challenges in the development process such as the dissimilar emission results in the different regions of the world and the emission variability seen with different foam processing conditions.


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Development of an FST/OSU passing rigid polyurethane foam for the aerospace industry

There is a growing need for structural materials that pass the stringent FAA Fire, Smoke, Toxicity (FST) and OSU Heat Release requirements. While materials exist that meet these specifications, many are not cost effective. Polymethacrylimide, polyether imide, and polyethersulfone materials pass the FST/OSU criteria, but are very expensive. Polyurethane and polycarbonate-based materials are cost effective, but none have been shown to pass the FST/OSU criteria. FR-3800 FST foam was developed as a cost effective polyurethane foam that passes the stringent FAA Fire, Smoke and Toxicity (FST) requirements and the OSU heat release requirements. Foams of various densities have passed vertical flame testing (extinguish time <15 s, burn length <15.2 cm), smoke density (< 200) and both peak and total heat release (<65 kW/m2 and <65 kW·min/m2, respectively). These desirable properties have been achieved without the use of halogenated flame retardants. Physical properties such as compression at 21 °C, flexural strength, shear strength and tensile strength were also evaluated.


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