After two years of extensive research, BASF has succeeded in developing prototypes of the world’s first particle foam which is derived from polyethersulfone (PESU).
The PESU of BASF, Ultrason E, is ideal for use in the automotive industry. It is an amorphous thermoplastic having a high glass transition temperature of 225 degrees C and has the capacity to remain dimensionally stable up to this temperature.
It even meets the requirements for commercial aircraft when it comes to characteristics like combustibility, low heat release and low smoke density. The main reason is its high limiting oxygen index of 38 (according to ASTM D 2863), which differentiates the material from similar materials.
Thanks to its ability to tolerate high operating temperatures and its mechanical properties, the material is highly suitable for use in complex-shaped components in cars, airplanes and trains.
The expandable PESU granulate is pre-foamed into beads with low densities between 40 and 120 g/L. It can be processed into molded parts with complex 3D geometries using technologies which are available on the market.
BASF has developed the world’s first particle foam based on polyethersulfone
Expanded moulded parts which are fashioned using just one single material offer designers more leeway when it comes to shapes and densities. There is not only more flexibility in terms of design but also fewer steps are needed for processing steps. The outcome is lower system costs.
The polymer is sourced from a single foam and thus it would be easier to recycle the parts in which the polymer is used.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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