Ludwigshafen, Germany - BASF says it has combined its expertise in particle foams with its experience with thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) to create the "world's first" expanded TPU.
Called Infinergy, the closed-cell particle foam is currently being used in the new Energy Boost running shoe from adidas, which the sportswear manufacturer has developed in partnership with BASF.
To produce Infinergy, BASF's TPU Elastollan is expanded at the Ludwigshafen headquarters, using an "innovative procedure." The process retains the benefits of TPUs but also adds "the typical properties of foams", BASF said in a 1 July news release.
Infinergy has a low bulk weight, with a density of about 110 kilograms per cubic metre, and, after processing on standard moulding machines, a moulded part weight of between 200 and 320 kg per cubic meter. That puts the new foam somewhere between expanded polystyrene or polypropylene, which are generally lighter, and the heavier elastomeric polyurethane foams.
BASF noted that due to its closed-cell structure, Infinergy also absorbs little water, less than 2% by volume in 24 hours.