By David Reed, UT EditorLudwigshafen, Germany-BASF AG has signed an exclusive cooperation agreement with the Anglo-Canadian company Intelligent Engineering Ltd (IE), for further development of the polyurethane-elastomer-based Sandwich Plate System (SPS). The agreement focuses on applications outside of the present marine/shipbuilding sector, specifically in bridge-building and other civil engineering applications such as the construction of sports stadiums and arenas, a 22 April statement from BASF indicates.The move follows on from a recent SPS application in bridge-building in Canada. This involved a small road bridge in Saint Martin de Beauce, Quebec, which was constructed by SPS licensee Canam Manac Group Inc. BASF points out that similar projects include one with ThyssenKrupp Technologies, another SPS licensee active in Germany and Austria, which is evaluating the feasibility of the system for the construction of temporary bridge elements for use at roadwork sites. In this connection, SPS elements for these elements are being subjected to repetitive-stress testing at BASF's laboratories in Ludwigshafen, the statement continued. The Steel Construction Department of the Aachen University of Technology (RWTH) is monitoring these tests as an independent scientific institution, BASF added. SPS comprises a 2-5 cm thick PU elastomer layer which is injected as a liquid between two steel plates; after curing, the composite formed offers very high mechanical performance including impact resistance, BASF claims. This allows the use of SPS panels in thinner and hence lighter constructions-as much as 70-percent lower in weight than comparable concrete structures, the firm claims; this allows faster building of the various types of structure, the German firm points out. The SPS panels also offer built-in protection against fire and vibration and are also more resistant to corrosion than conventional steel structures, BASF claims."Our SPS polyurethane is extremely stable and does not become brittle with age. This makes SPS structures more durable than conventional solutions," added Georg Knoblauch, who is in charge of SPS technology development at Elastogran."