Frankfurt, Germany -- At its recent 50th anniversary conference in Essen, Germany, the German association for foamed polyurethane and plastics (FSK) gave its innovation award for polyurethane for the eighth time.
First student prize went to Maximilian Kütting and Ingo Nadzeyka (Institute of Applied Medical Engineering, Aachen, students) for an artificial PU heart valve. The human heart beats about 90 000 times a day and when heart valves are either narrow or leaky, the only approach is to replace the defective valve with a prosthesis. In 2009, more than 200 000 heart valves were implanted.
A heart valve made of polyurethane could replace the currently available mechanical heart valve prostheses or biological prostheses made of porcine heart valves. The advantages of a polyurethane heart valve consist of the combination of low blood damage and fatigue.
The Aachen heart valve made of polyurethane has already a durability test in accordance with the ISO 5840 standard has been subjected to 100 million cycles. Further development of additional tests are currently underway.
Another award in the realm of therapy and health care went to the variosensa board, described by Michael Kunze, of Hübner GmbH. This is a new tool for therapy and training mobilises the entire neuromuscular and sensorimotor system. It is a multi-functional training tool for the sense of balance, and resembles a surfboard. Someone standing on it has to make compensatory movements as its variable shape performs tilting movements -- achieved by means of the unique design and position variability of the feet.
Concrete parts made with polyurethane moulds were the theme of Prof Bernd Benninghoff of the University of Mainz. His students gained an award for innovation in polyurethane, because they have made a range of interesting design projects using moulds for concrete made of polyurethane to achieve a perfect surface quality.
Another award went to ArsRatio GmbH in Austria, whose Claus Permesang presented a new mobile system for flooring. ArsRatio created several surfaces from tiles, glass, cork and other materials, and these surfaces that are cast on a base of a polyurethane frame. Floor coverings are created in a few simple steps and quickly joined in by clicking them together.
High versatility in polyurethane has allowed completely new design possibilities, with a specific example being the concept refrigerator CoolPure 1.0 from BASF Polyurethanes GmbH, described by Rüdiger Voss. BASF made the entire fridge from ten different types of PU - with the exception of the frame. The design offers new solutions for energy efficiency and sustainability, as well as exceptional durability and functionality.
Dr Ing Jan Kuppinger (of Fraunhofer ICT) was honoured for his study on material and process validation for the production of fibre-reinforced polyurethanes used as a diesel engine cover. For spray polyurethane/fibre, Kuppinger described the material properties and their process-related interaction and also developed a method that determines material properties for the outer layer and mechanical properties for the sandwich structures with respect to the amount of polyurethane and glass fibre.
PIC: Innovation award winners of the FSC in 2012, l-r, Albrecht Manderscheid (FSK chairman), Dr Hans-W. Schloz (managing director, FSK), Voss, Kuppinger, Benninghoff, William Alexander Strietholt (PU section president, FSK), Kunze, Permesang, Kütting and Nadzeyka.