From the point of view of a member of the Scientific Committee Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Rainer Dahlmann answers five questions on the International...
Polyurethanes are suitable – probably more than any other class of materials – for an enormous range of applications thanks to the many possibilities for varying their processing properties and the properties of the finished part. Whether foamed, compact or fibre-reinforced, the properties of the parts can be adjusted at low densities from anything between elastic/flexible and brittle/hard. By combining different polyurethane materials, it is even possible to add together their respective properties. Polyurethanes are used in the automotive industry (e.g. interior trim, seat cushions, visible components), the furniture industry (cushions and mattresses), the building sector (insulating panels, profiles), the refrigeration industry (insulation) and also in the sport and clothing segment (shoe soles).
The research subjects we tackle are as varied as the polyurethanes themselves. They extend from reducing the use of health-damaging release agents and isocyanates, through aspects of material science such as improving the insulating and flame-retardant properties of rigid foams and developing processes for material analysis and testing for PU, to devising innovative processing methods for the combination of different materials and functions in a single part.
For carrying out the practical side of research projects, we have an excellently equipped PU pilot plant with various high-pressure and low-pressure metering units and mould carriers.
A polyurethanes spray centre, a pultrusion unit and various mixing heads plus a variety of moulding tools and sensor systems are also available for research projects.