Wyandotte, Michigan -- BASF has opened a new research lab for thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) in Wyandotte, Michigan, to house a five-person team of product developers, chemists and material scientists.
They will develop new TPU products for the American automotive, construction, sports and leisure industries. The lab team's main focus is TPU synthesis and processing, with the aim of customising key material properties - stiffness, elasticity, transparency and UV stability - to meet individual customer needs, by varying the manufacturing conditions.
TPUs offer high scratch and abrasion resistance, high tensile strength, very good cushioning, high flexibility at cold temperatures, and excellent resistance to oil, grease, oxygen and ozone.
BASF notes that applications for these versatile materials include cables and tubes for automotive, mechanical engineering and construction uses. TPU films are used for packaging, skis and snowboards, air cushioning systems for insoles, and as fibres for clothing textiles.
"Closeness to our American customers and fast and direct contact are key criteria in enabling us to tap into new ideas and emerging market trends and produce sustainable innovations," said Dr Christian Fischer, president of Advanced Materials & Systems Research division at BASF, in a 6 Sept announcement.
"The new lab in Wyandotte is the latest strategic step toward an ever more global overall approach to research," Fischer added, noting that this also forms a good basis for expanding BASF's existing scientific network with universities and other research facilities in North America.
Wyandotte is BASF's largest research and development site in the US Midwest, with the new TPU research team enhancing the technology/knowledge base at this site.
"A closely interlinked system of research, development and applications engineering enables us to develop new products rapidly and in a highly focused manner. It's a concept for success that has proved its worth at other BASF sites and is now to be strengthened in Wyandotte," commented Dr Karl-Rudolf Kurtz, senior vice president of the global research department PUR Systems & Composites, responsible for polyurethane research in Wyandotte.