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06. April 2020

The new issue 2/2020 of PU Magazine International has been published!

Read about Project Stop, An initiative of the chemical industry to free the seas of plastic waste, and our interview with Craig Halgreen, Director of Sustainability and Public Affairs (Borealis).

We also report on the recent discussion on ways out of the plastic crisis – especially the response of several industry associations such as the GKV, IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen, and PlasticsEurope to the demands of the alliance of civil societies and NGOs such as the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and the Bundesverband Meeresmüll e.V.

In addition we cover the recent survey of Europur on the impact of COVID-19 on the flexible PU foam industry.

Our featured technical articles in this issue deal with the harmonization of global VOC specification by Sebroski (Covestro), Holtz (BASF), and Kiszka (Dow); renewable bio-derived polyols and microbial susceptibility in PU foam by Newton et al. (Lonza); end of life of mattresses and furniture in Europe by Baumgartner (Europur), and a new bifunctional polymeric diisocyanate for the PU chemistry by P. Olier, M. Aungsukiatethavorn (Vencorex).

Featured technical articles are:

  • A roadmap toward the harmonization of global VOC specifications
    (J. Sebroski,Covestro, K. Kiszka, Dow, J. Holtz, BASF)
    The Molded Polyurethane Foam Industry Panel (the Industry Panel) is pursuing a science-based approach to create a “roadmap” industry standard for providing recommendations and defining best practices for measuring volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from automotive interior flexible molded polyurethane seating foam. The proposed industry standard will address the interests and requirements of OEMs in the three major global automotive markets: North America, Europe, and Asia. The comprehensive standard will leverage existing consensus standards from ASTM International, SAE International, ISO, VDA along with existing automotive OEM test methods to draft four best practice documents: (1) Foam processing and handling, sample production, conditioning, packaging, storage, shipment, and specimen preparation, (2) Test methods to measure VOC emissions, e.g. chambers, air sampling and analytical methods, (3) Data analysis and expression of results, and (4) Description and flowchart of combined documents – Unification document to form a comprehensive VOC Roadmap. This paper will discuss the Industry Panel’s approach for proposing an industry standard. The document was drafted using a collaborative website approach in order to get input from all of the VOC Roadmap team members. A comprehensive review of automotive emissions standards for measuring VOCs from components and materials was conducted to evaluate current practices that are used by the automotive industry. Many aspects of the standards such as sample collection, handling and conditioning requirements were compared to identify similarities, conflicts, and potential areas that may require clarification or research. A collaborative survey with stakeholders was done to determine which methods are being used and to obtain feedback from potential users of the standard. The results from the survey were useful to help harmonize the methods that are covered in the proposed standard.
  • Renewable bio-derived polyols and microbial susceptibility in polyurethane foam
    (D. Newton, J. Hurley, L. Estell, R. Prioli, Lonza)
    A growing trend towards the use of renewable bio-derived polyols in polyurethane foams is observed in consumer and commercial applications. In particular, bedding, furniture and automotive seating manufacturers seek to comply with the market demand for bio-derived polyols because of their superior environmental profile. However, there is concern about their potentially greater susceptibility to microbial contamination. Under certain conditions, uninhibited fungal and bacterial growth can affect the mechanical integrity of the foam while creating unhygienic conditions in the home and automotive environments. In this article, we present our recent research into the influence of different polyol types and processing conditions on the tendency for fungal growth in polyurethane foams, using a variety of standard and non-standard tests. Data are presented relating to the performance of antimicrobial additives, with the goal of defining optimal solutions for commercial applications.
  • End of life of mattresses and furniture in Europe
    (M. Baumgartner, Europur)
    The European Union’s waste legislation has been deeply amended in 2018 in view of strongly increasing re-use, preparation for re-use and recycling of solid municipal waste between now and 2035. The new legislation will over time require a significant shift in the way end-of-life mattresses and furniture are dealt with. Landfilling will be nearly phased out and incineration will be strongly discouraged. As these are the main ways of treatment of end-of-life mattresses and furniture today, collection, dismantling and recycling of components mattresses and furniture are made of will have to increase drastically. Considering that mattresses and furniture are the two main markets for flexible polyurethane foam produced in the EU, the new EU waste legislation will require the development of new industrial-scale solutions for increased recycling of flexible polyurethane foam, as currently available mechanical recycling processes would not be able to absorb the volume of end-of-life flexible PU foam diverted from landfill or incineration. A number of research consortia have been created in Europe, often with support of public funding, to seek to develop such recycling technologies for flexible polyurethane (PU) foam. While research is ongoing, it is the view of the European flexible PU foam industry that – in order to succeed in diverting from landfill the significant volumes of end-of-life PU foam considered – a variety of technologies will be required in the future, including waste-to-energy for the fraction of material that cannot be recycled otherwise.
  • One of a kind in the polyurethane toolbox
    (P. Olier, M. Aungsukiatethavorn, Vencorex)
    A new bifunctional polymeric diisocyanate (BPI) has been recently launched on the market that is based on renewable carbon and is characterized by very low viscosity (150 mPa·s at 25 °C). Studies have shown that BPI is of interest not only in solvent free or low solid system but also as a building block for the polyurethane chemistry. The synthesis of thermoplastic urethane (TPU) and polyurethane dispersions (PUD) have been achieved, showing that BPI can improve the flexibility of the final material.

Further information about the new issue at https://www.gupta-verlag.com/magazines/pu-magazine-international/02-2020.

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