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The corona crisis has taught us that working from home is often more efficient. We have more time for family life due to fewer business trips, and also CO2 emissions have fallen in many industrialised countries due to the lockdown.
But we also realized that the large number of video conferences and webinars is beginning to wear us out, that short conversations with colleagues would be helpful for our work process, and that we lack real meetings and exchange with business partners and customers.
Like many of you, all staff of Dr. Gupta Verlags GmbH initially worked from home. We have implemented short-time work and have distributed our magazines only digitally owing to the lack of analogue distribution channels, such as trade fairs and conferences, but also because in most companies many employees could only be reached in the home office.
But as human beings we need external stimuli, sensory stimuli and emotional attention and recognition.
That is why we have decided, in compliance with hygiene recommendations, to take a first step “back to normality” and work again in the office in small and changing teams. Even though there will probably not be any major trade fairs and conferences this year, some of our magazines will gradually be published again, in addition to the online version, as real, tangible, analogue print magazines.
It remains to be seen whether there will really be a “back to normal”, and what this looks like, and whether a “second corona wave” is coming.
But I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, dear readers, contributors, and advertising customers, for your interest in our magazines, your contributions and your loyalty. Without you we would not be able to do the work we do with all our hearts and minds.
I wish you an enjoyable time reading and
According to the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam (AFPF), a benchmark research conducted through an independent, nationally recognised SurveyGizmo consumer panel for the CertiPUR-US programme found out that nine out of ten recent or upcoming mattress buyers were more likely to purchase a mattress that contains CertiPUR-US-certified flexible polyurethane foam. CertiPUR-US is a certification programme for flexible polyurethane foam used in bedding and upholstered furniture that is administered by the AFPF, a not-for-profit organisation incorporated in 2008.
Polyurethane is a very versatile material and plays a major role in our modern everyday life. As a durable and lightweight material, it is used in a variety of applications and makes our lives more comfortable, convenient and sustainable. It is used as an insulating material, adhesive, sealant and in many other products helping to reduce waste and use less energy. However, polyurethane is a thermoset and until recently could not be recycled. This is a critical issue in a society pushing for closed loops and a circular economy. But the polyurethane industry understands that it must quickly find ways to return consumer products back into the production cycle at the end of their life.
Wind power is one of the most promising renewable energy sources due to its global availability and the technical progress already made. This is also reflected in the development of wind power capacity, which is seeing double-digit annual growth across the globe. However, cost-efficient processes for manufacturing wind power plants are in greater demand than ever to enable further expansion and for competing with traditional energy resources.
In the last three years Foam Expo North America has been the leading event for bringing together the technical foam industry. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the event was cancelled earlier this year. However, instead of resigning, Smarter Shows launched Foam Expo Connect, a brand-new digital event brand, underlining its commitment to the worldwide technical foam sector, and the supply chains serving relevant end-user industries.
Additives in polyurethanes are widely implemented to improve aesthetics, especially to cover any inhomogeneities of the product. They are also used as performance aids, to improve heat resistance and prevent flame formation, to reduce oxidation and protect against aging, which are common threats to the physical properties of PU.
Foams produced by moulding are used for example in packaging for electrical appliances, bicycle and motorcycle helmets, armrests in cars and many other applications. In the production process, foamed plastic beads are sintered using steam in order to form components. The choice of materials is therefore limited to those that can be joined within the temperature and pressure range of classic steam moulding processes (between 1 – 8 bar), for example polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
Today, the utilisation of plastics is mainly perceived as a problem. And indeed, their extensive use is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we cannot and do not want to do without plastics, because the diversity of polymers and their broad range of properties enable applications where traditional materials fail. In addition to their undeniable benefits in everyday life, they are also the cause and source of a wide range of environmental problems. This article deals with the arguments for and against the extensive use of plastics. Part 1 dealt with the advantages of plastics for our technological society and in general with the possibilities, limits and economic and ecological costs of recycling. In part 2, different groups of plastics are considered individually and examined for their recyclability. Raw material recycling and incineration are also addressed as possible end-of-life solutions.
Part 1 was published in PU Magazine International 03/2020.
It is possible to achieve desired physical properties by improving the primary structure of polyurethane raw materials to enhance the function of the polyurethane. In this study polyester polyols and polycarbonate diols were synthesized using a diol with a branched structure or a straight long carbon chain as a raw material, and the physical properties of these polyols were checked. Further, polyurethanes were synthesized using these polyols as a raw material, and the physical properties of these polyurethanes were checked. Polyester polyol-based polyurethane resins generally have a high durability, but have a problem with water resistance and flexibility. The introduction of polyester polyols and polycarbonate polyols with a branched structure or a straight long carbon chain improves water resistance, which is a weak point of polyester polyol-based polyurethanes in general, and provides flexibility equal to or greater than that of polyether polyol-based polyurethanes, while high durability is maintained. The use of the diols presented in this paper enables the production of polyols and polyurethanes with excellent physical properties.
Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are a promising class of materials for dielectric elastomer applications and have excellent processability and recyclability. These materials encompass a wide range of polymeric families including thermoplastic-based polyolefins (TPO), polystyrenes (TPS), amides (TPA), copolyesters (TPC), and vulcanizates (TPV). They have a broad range of operating temperature and can often replace conventional crosslinked rubber for applications falling in this range. Service or operating temperatures can range from very cold to very warm conditions, making TPEs suitable for the demands of outdoor applications or exposure to frequent fluctuations in temperature. Furthermore, good flexibility and mechanical properties allow for large reversible deformations and creep-resistant behavior.
Very few policy initiatives in the last few years have received as much public attention as the recently adopted Single-Use Plastics Directive – also known as the single-use plastics ban. This legal act, however, is only one piece of the puzzle with which the European Union is attempting to curb plastic littering and transform the European economy into a circular one. The following article gives an overview on the EU circular economy package and plastics strategy and explains what they mean for bio-based plastics.
The use of carbon dioxide as a feedstock to produce polycarbonate ether (PCE) polyols used in the manufacture of polyurethane is one of the few commercially and technically viable opportunities for utilization of this waste gas. Novel catalyst technology developed by Econic has the capability to use CO2 as a feedstock for such polyols. In addition, the low pressure requirement for operation of the technology allows for potential retrofit to existing polyether polyol production assets. Econic's catalyst technology enables the production of a variety of polyols with tailored amounts of CO2 built into the polymer chain. This unique series of polycarbonate ether polyols have improved properties over their wholly polyether counterparts, which offers enhanced applications in a diverse range of markets. The use of low molecular weight polycarbonate ether polyols to produce rigid spray insulation foams will be demonstrated alongside performance benefits generated by the incorporation of carbon dioxide.