Tuesday - September 22, 2015

Outstanding developments with polyurethanes

Covestro receives two FSK innovation awards

Highly insulating foam for solar aircraft / Textile coating products for the Brazuca high-tech soccer ball
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Dr. Hubert Ehbing (middle) receives the FSK Innovation Award on behalf of the Solar Impulse Team at Covestro, from the hands of Jens-Jürgen Härtel (Volkswagen AG, left) and Albrecht Manderscheid (Cannon Deutschland GmbH).

Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has received the “Polyurethanes Innovation Award 2015” for not just one, but two of its developments. The first was the highly efficient insulating material Baytherm® Microcell, which insulates the door of the Solar Impulse solar aircraft against extreme outside temperatures. The second was for the surface coating of the Brazuca – the official match ball of the 2014 Soccer World Cup.

These awards were presented to the winners during an official ceremony at the International Polyurethane Conference 2015 of the Specialist Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes (FSK) in Bonn. Dignitaries at the presentation included Prof. Ulrich von Weizsaecker from Club of Rome and Johannes Remmel, Environment Minister for North Rhine-Westphalia.

“We are delighted by this recognition of our development work,” said Dr. Bernd Rothe, who coordinates material developments for the solar aircraft at Covestro. “Above all, we are proud that two major projects we have undertaken in collaboration with partners have received recognition.”

Lightweight, high-performance insulating material
Covestro has been an official partner of the Solar Impulse project since 2010. Ultra-lightweight design was a top priority in the construction of the current Si2 aircraft. Rigid polyurethane foam from Covestro components not only meets this requirement, it also helps protect the pilots from the extreme outside temperatures of minus 40 to plus 40 degrees Celsius.

Reducing the pore size improves the insulation performance of Baytherm® Microcell by ten percent compared to the current standard. This is also good for refrigeration equipment, whose energy efficiency has been improved by using the new material. The company is currently working on a further reduction of the pore size to boost this effect still further.

The polyurethane cabin of the first prototype aircraft is one of the top exhibits at the exhibition accompanying the conference. In the coming year, Solar Impulse intends to continue its record attempt to circumnavigate the globe in an aircraft powered only by solar energy.

The perfect shape
Polyurethanes play a key part in the second prize-winning Covestro development, too. The perfect shape and outstanding properties of the Brazuca soccer ball are all thanks to its outer shell. “It consists of a total of five layers based on polyurethane raw materials,” said Thomas Michaelis, project manager for ball development at Covestro.

A one-millimeter-thick elastic polyurethane skin enables the ball to immediately regain its spherical shape after being kicked, thus ensuring an optimal trajectory. The three outermost polyurethane layers give the ball high abrasion resistance and ensure it keeps its good looks for a long time, as well as preventing moisture penetration – all thanks to polyurethane dispersions from Covestro’s Impranil® product line. “This ball is the product of the combined expertise and experience of our partnership with adidas, which now goes back almost 30 years,” said Michaelis.

The FSK has been presenting innovation awards since 1998 to encourage new talent at companies and universities.

About Covestro:
With 2014 sales of EUR 11.7 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and sports and leisure industries. The Covestro group has 30 production sites around the globe and employed approximately 14,200 people at the end of 2014. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, is a Bayer Group company.

This press release is available for download from the Covestro press server at Photos are available there for download as well. Please mind the source of the pictures.

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This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro Deutschland AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available on the Covestro website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.