German polymer giant Bayer MaterialScience has unveiled a polyurethane material that is “lighter than water” for use in ships, trains, automobiles and other forms of transportation.
“Demand for lightweight construction systems in the automotive industry is now at an all-time high, with the aim being to cut fuel consumption, costs and CO2 emissions,” the company said in a release.
|Trimming 100 kilograms (220 pounds) from a vehicle’s weight saves 0.5 liters (1.05 pints) of fuel over a distance of 100 kilometers (about 62 miles), according to research cited by Bayer MaterialScience.|
Bayflex RIM Light Weight polyurethane system, released at UTech 2012, can help reduce the weight of finished automotive components by up to 30 percent, the company said in a release.
“With a density of just 0.9 kilograms per liter, this material is even lighter than water,” the company said.
Lightening Fibers with Fillers
“This solution owes its lightweight design to the high-grade Bayflex polyurethane system in tandem with a clever combination of fillers that replace the usual mineral fibers,” said Dr. Birgit Meyer zu Berstenhorst, who developed the material. “The excellent mechanical properties remain intact.”
The material provides a “considerable reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions” and “improves driving dynamics” with certain vehicle models, she said.
Bayer MaterialScience says the material “offers great design freedom for vehicle construction” and “can be used to make components with a Class A surface that are to be finished with a high-grade coating.” The process uses RRIM (Reinforced Reaction Injection Molding) technology.
In addition to car components, Bayflex RIM Light Weight can be used for ships, aircraft, trucks, buses and trains, BMS said. It may also have applications in the construction and IT industries, the company said.