Asian PU Digest - Issue 04 | 2017
Some weeks ago, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 was awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Switzerland, Joachim Frank, USA, and Richard Henderson, United Kingdom, “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”.
Again, the prize goes into the area of biochemistry or microscopy as a lot of Nobel Prizes in the last years. Looking for the last Nobel Prize awarded to polymer related chemistry, we have to go back to the year 2000, when Alan J. Heeger, USA, Alan MacDiarmid, New Zealand, and Hideki Shirakawa, Japan, were awarded “for the discovery and development of conductive polymers” and to 1974 (Paul J. Florey “for his fundamental work, both theoretical and experimental, in the physical chemistry of macromolecules”).
Seems that polymers are not “sexy” enough for highly recognized awards. Maybe it’s true, but for me, at least polyurethanes, a class of polymers with unique diversity, will never get boring. I hope that you agree to that, latest after having seen the papers we have compiled for the current issue of “Asian PU Digest”, covering a broad range of applications, e.g.:
“Additives and technical solutions for footwear application” deals with new silicone surfactants for footwear application to enable for optimum cell regulation and cell opening, with specialized catalysts that allow extended pour time and improved foam flow.
An example for sustainability is given in “Environmentally friendly PU and PIR rigid foam systems”, showing how polyols produced from recycled foam and blowing agents with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and low global warming potential (GWP) can be used to produce rigid insulation foams with minimal environmental impact.
The increasing environmental demands and technology changes in the automotive industry put challenges to manufacturers, e.g., for reducing VOC (volatile organic compounds), and minimizing or eliminating tin derivatives. The paper “Release agents: Today’s challenges in the production of steering wheels” describes how new cleaning media, which are only classified as “irritant” according to GHS, can help to overcome these challenges.
Last but not least, you find a summary of a market report about “Polyurethane chemicals and products in Asia Pacific (APAC) 2017”, that has been compiled by IAL Consultants recently.
We would also like to draw your attention to a short report about the inauguration of Evonik’s new plant in Shanghai, China, for the production of a wide range of organically modified specialty silicones, and an interview with Michel Baumgartner, Secretary General of Europur, about CertiPUR, a label to ensure high quality levels for flexible polyurethane foams for mattresses and the furniture industry.
So don’t be sad that PU is still waiting for a Noble Prize, but enjoy the diversity of PU in its manifold applications!