By Liz White, UT staff
Leverkusen -Horse 'boots' which utilise an inflatable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) film for a good fit are helping horseman Manfred Schulze in his latest quest. This is to ride from Berlin to Mongolia along the 'silk road' in the steps of Ghengis Khan.
And neither polyester- or polyether-based TPUs had the combination of mechanical properties and chemical/moisture resistance needed for the role, according to Bayer MaterialScience AG, whose carbonate-based TPU Desmopan 786 proved appropriate for this demanding application.
Schulze, who has already ridden around the world, aims to arrive in Mongolian capital Ulan Bator in time for the 800th birthday celebrations of the Mongol leader and warlord, this July.
According to BMS, hoof protection boots are essential for Schulze's horses Temujin and Puschkin on the difficult terrain he will encounter, includinglong gravel tracks, asphalt roads, and stony paths.
Manufacturer marquis Tiermedizintechnik GmbH of Herbrechtingen, near Ulm in southern Germany, uses resilient materials such as Desmopan thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) from BMS in its boots. The TPU-supplied in film form by Exel GmbH, based in Rohrdorf near Rosenheim, Germany, is made into an inflatable air-chamber system that "provides optimum fit and ensures the hoof is held securely in the boot," said Bayer's statement.
Desmopan has long been the material of choice for … hoof boots for cows and other domestic animals and livestock," because of its "high abrasion resistance, excellent shock and impact absorption and its outstanding chemical resistance," said Jens Ufermann, segment manager for TPU at BMS, in the company statement.
BMS said the inflatable air-cushion system is creased during manufacture, with the edge of the crease under tension. As well as suffering from mechanical loading, it comes under attack by moisture, microbes, and from the ammonia in horse urine. "This proved too much for a polyester-based TPU since, despite being highly resistant to abrasion and wear, it was not sufficiently resistant to hydrolysis and microbes," said BMS.
And a polyether-based TPU was unsuitable "for precisely the opposite reasons," the company said.
Only carbonate-based TPU grades can cope with this double burden, said Ufermann. Desmopan 786 combines the strengths of polyester- and polyether-based TPU and is a viable option when the other materials are stretched to the limit," he added.