BASF Low Emission Polyols
BASF has improved the process for manufacturing its polyether polyol Lupranol to reduce aldehyde emissions by 20 per cent.
The new process allows automotive suppliers of acoustic parts, seats and steering wheels or back-foam instrument panels and doors, to meet the increasing requirements of car manufacturers and regulators for lower Volatile Organic Compounds in vehicle interiors.
Following the process change at BASF’s Asian production sites at the beginning of 2017, the modification is now being made in Europe and will take place in the US plants during 2017. Alongside isocyanate, polyol is the starting product for polyurethane foam systems.
The emissions were optimised by improving the cleaning and finishing processes of Lupranol in such a way that the mechanical properties of the material remain unchanged during the following foam and processing steps.
This means that the currently used Lupranol grades can be exchanged immediately, there is no need for elaborate tests or renewed approvals of the PU systems which are based on these improved polyol grades. BASF markets the PU systems for flexible, semi-rigid and integral foams under the brands Elastoflex W, Elastoflex E and Elastofoam I.
With the improved Lupranol grades BASF contributes to automotive components with ever lower emissions. Completed parts made of BASF PU systems are tested internally as well as by certified test laboratories like Imat-Uve and Institut Fresenius. The improvement of the emission values varies from part to part: An average reduction of 20 percent is possible, measured according to commonly accepted chamber test methods like VDA276 and BMW GS 97014-3.
Governments around the world are continuously demanding lower emissions for vehicle interiors to reduce the possible impact of volatile substances on the health of car drivers, but also to reduce the typical new-car smell. The focus is currently on aldehydes such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and propionaldehyde, as well as aromatics from polyurethanes. BASF is working intensively on developing PU systems which allow for car components with lower Volatile Organic Compounds.