Chemistry & Life Sciences

Solutions for Global Megatrends

09.12.2011 -

Is it possible to strike a balance between megatrends like climate protection and rising global mobility? What possibilities do plastics offer for increasing the range of electric cars? When it comes to lighting, can energy efficiency, safety and modern design be combined? And how can we conserve dwindling resources if product quality is to remain at a high level? Bayer MaterialScience presented answers to all these questions at this year's Fakuma trade fair in Friedrichshafen.

"Innovations are, and always will be, an important growth driver for Bayer MaterialScience. They open up numerous, promising business opportunities in key sectors, such as the automotive and construction industries, and in electrical/electronics applications," Dr. Dennis McCullough, head of Advanced Polycarbonate Resins at Bayer MaterialScience in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America region, said during a meeting with the press at the trade fair. "To satisfy rising demand, we are investing heavily in expanding our production capacities, not only in our primary growth market Asia, but also in Europe."

An example: New drive concepts, such as electric mobility, reduce our dependence on oil and are expected to make an important contribution to climate protection. However, one challenge continues to be the low range of the vehicles. To travel a distance of just 150 kilometers, a car needs a battery weighing up to 200 kilograms. In automotive glazing and roof design, polycarbonates and polyurethanes from Bayer MaterialScience slash weight by as much as 50 %, thus reducing the strain on the battery.

But plastics can do a lot more. For instance, polycarbonate glazing sheets for panoramic roofs can be tinted in a way that they filter out most of the sun's infrared radiation. The vehicle heats up significantly less on the inside, and the air-conditioning consumes less energy. As a result, the battery charge lasts longer and the vehicle's range increases.

The example of a high-quality product based entirely on recyclates from used water bottles proves that bodywork parts do not always need to originate from new material. Makroblend GR is a plastic blend made from polycarbonate and PET recyclates and it displays similar outstanding properties as new product.

"We are also developing innovative and sustainable solutions for other global megatrends, such as technology, living and health," says Klaus Dreesen, who was in charge of the Bayer MaterialScience stand at Fakuma. "Along the way, we strive both to improve processes and enhance comfort and safety."

Cost and energy efficiency, but also sustainability, play an increasingly important role in injection molding. The same applies to combining different materials. Direct Skinning or Direct Coating technology is a versatile method for coating injection-molded polycarbonate parts with polyurethane foams or coatings right in the mold. The method already is used in mass production, saving time, money and energy. The clou: This technology enables the manufacture of parts with tailor-made surface properties - from rigid to soft, from glossy to textured.

The growing global population and urbanization require improved traffic safety. Optical lenses made of Makrolon polycarbonate focus and direct the light of LEDs in automotive headlamps and streetlights. Effectively illuminating roads and walkways increases safety for pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic participants. At the same time, LED technology helps save energy.



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