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Subject

Beth Crisafi :
MAJOR INNOVATIONS IMPROVE ECONOMICS, FORM AND FUNCTIONALITY OF POLYURETHANE AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS



Article:

Beth Crisafi :
Important innovations reported today during the API Polyurethanes 2006 Technical Conference Automotive Technical Session, indicate that the use of polyurethane systems for automotive interiors will continue to grow based on superior economics, functionality and aesthetics.

Maurizio Bottazzi, senior R&D development specialist for Dow Italia s.r.l., described a new family of innovative, economical spray or injected aromatic polyurethane skins for aesthetic automotive interior applications. This new generation of soft-touch skin systems – commercialized under the SPECTRIM™ trademark – is designed for the production of aesthetic coverstocks. “This new technology is a physical blowing agent-free, novel chemistry that enables an easier process,” said Bottazzi. “SPECTRIM technology changes the traditional productive concept, integrating the aesthetic requirements of the coverstock with the softness provided by the flexible foam in a single phase, which opens interesting new opportunities for a complex technology.” Bottazzi also noted that the new soft touch RIM polymers easily pass all current automotive specifications for both physical mechanical properties and emissions. Used in combination with the SPECTRIM™ RL 700 series structural substrate to create a 100 percent polyurethane composite offers further advantages, including better recyclability.

A team of scientists from Woodbridge Foam Corporation and BayerMaterial Science LLC reported on progress with two new approaches for improving the energy dissipation properties of polyurethane foams in functional automotive applications such as head restraints, arm rests, seat backs, lumbar support, sound and vibration attenuation. Designed to meet recent regulatory initiatives in the U.S. for safer head restraints, the joint team reported on their dual development of new TDI visco-elastic foam systems based on conventional and developmental polyols. Both approaches have yielded developmental foams with excellent energy management properties, temperature insensitive characteristics and a soft touch, making them good, low-cost engineering solutions for complying with the new head restraint regulations and other energy management applications.

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Beth Crisafi
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