Bayer, BAM develop plastics having memory

Bayer, BAM develop plastics having memory

10:28 AM, 24th May 2012
Bayer, BAM develop plastics having memory

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY: A new thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) developed by Bayer MaterialScience together with the BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Berlin, Germany, shows that plastics can also have a memory. Parts made of such a plastic can be temporarily reshaped and fixed in this shape. When heated to a certain temperature known as the switching temperature, they ‘remember’ their original shape and return to it virtually unchanged. In the case of the new product Desmopan DP 2795A SMP (shape memory plastics), the switching temperature is approximately 40° C.

The two partners recently submitted a patent application for a possible application in the area of functional film tunnels and self-erecting structures. Film tunnels in a field act like greenhouses and accelerate the growth of lettuces and vegetables so that these can be harvested sooner than is possible if allowed to mature in the ‘classic’ manner under the open sky. While it is easy to lay flat films on a field, erecting a permanent tunnel with films can be a time-consuming and costly operation.

The new material could also prove useful in product and brand protection applications. Because the TPU material is free from plasticizers and antihydrolysis agents, it is also suitable for food contact applications. It also boasts all the typical advantages of TPU, such as high abrasion resistance, flexibility and good chemical resistance. “Given this special property, there are virtually no limits to the potential applications for the plastic. We can imagine applications in areas ranging from mechanical engineering and the automotive, textile, sports and leisure industries to toy manufacturing and aerospace engineering,” said Jurgen Hattig, Head of Business Development, Thermoplastic Polyurethane, Bayer MaterialScience.

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