Versatile by design: Two-component polyurethane system from Bayer evolves to help customers solve materials and design challenges

Pittsburgh, October 3, 2012 — The inherent versatility of polyurethane chemistry has helped make it the material of choice for innovative products in diverse markets for decades. As a leading manufacturer of polyurethane raw materials and polyurethane systems, Bayer MaterialScience LLC remains on the cutting edge … refining formulations and advancing new processes that help customers solve their materials and design challenges. The ongoing evolution of Bayer's Baypreg® two-component polyurethane system exemplifies Bayer's leadership in this area.

Bayer's Baypreg two-component polyurethane system was originally developed in the mid-1990s as a material for use in automotive sun shades, due to its lightweight properties and stiffness retention at high temperatures generated in auto interiors by sunlight. Existing materials on the market at that time were too heavy and didn't have a high enough level of thermal stability.

Over time, the technology and processing of the Baypreg system have evolved. In the original process, a natural fiber mat was sprayed with a polyurethane resin and molded to form a single-layer structure.

Today, the system is processed by creating a sandwich structure in which honeycomb cores (paper, thermoplastics honeycombs, rigid foams and expanded polystyrene, etc.) are sandwiched between glass fiber mats. The sandwich is sprayed from both sides with the two-component Baypreg system.

The low viscosity of the polyurethane mixture ensures that the mats are thoroughly wetted with the resin. Next, the composite is placed in a mold, where it is compression-molded. The polyurethane system then reacts and binds the components together.

"Some of the latest versions of the Baypreg system have been formulated to allow for longer open mold times, while decreasing demold time. This system enhancement, along with increased user-friendliness, can lead to higher productivity and lower scrap rates, which in turn saves producers money," according to Mike Super, business development manager for RIM and Composites, Bayer MaterialScience LLC.

This enhanced efficiency has allowed auto suppliers to consider the Baypreg system for programs in ranges as high as 100,000 to 300,000 part builds per year, Super says.

The ability to produce a part that combines the light weight of a honeycomb core with the high-strength properties of a fiber-reinforced polyurethane skin, very high flexural stiffness and excellent thermal properties is attractive to manufacturers looking for a lightweight alternative to acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polypropylene, sheet molding compound (SMC) or wood products.

Another advantage with the Baypreg system is that it contains no styrene.

Additionally, some degree of bio-renewable raw material has always been used to formulate the Baypreg system. Most components made with the Baypreg system today range from 15 to 30 percent bio-renewable content. However, depending on a number of variables, including the choice of the Baypreg system, core material, glass mats and part thickness, components formed using a Baypreg system can achieve a bio-renewable content of up to 40 percent, which is important to OEMs searching for more environmentally friendly alternatives.

The latest formulations incorporate higher amounts of bio-renewable content than ever before. In addition, most parts formed from the Baypreg system use a paper honeycomb core, which can be up to 90 percent bio-renewable, contingent upon how the parts are manufactured.

Matching the core and facing materials can result in a finalized part with the right combination of weight and stiffness needed for a particular application. This customization allows for the use of the Baypreg system in a wide range of applications. So, from its initial application as a material for automotive sun shades, the Baypreg system has been designed into a host of other applications including automotive door panels, load floors and spare tire covers, as well as in lightweight, stackable tables for cafeterias or lecture halls, and aviation components.

An emerging market for Baypreg polyurethane systems is the railroad industry. An engine enclosure made with the Baypreg system offers train manufacturers a component that is 35 percent lighter and 30 percent less expensive than its steel and aluminum counterpart. A prototype part was recently honored with the 2012 JEC Innovation Award. At Bayer's prototype facility in Pittsburgh, manufacturers can see firsthand finished products, including automotive load floors, recreational vehicle parts and lightweight office furniture, made with the Baypreg polyurethane system.

"Interest in composites technologies is increasing, since markets like the automotive and railroad industries have implemented ongoing weight-reduction programs. Use of advanced composites technologies is helping manufacturers achieve their lightweighting goals. Bayer's Baypreg polyurethane system provides both a lightweight material as well as one with customizable properties depending on the combinations of reinforcing mats and cores," says Super.

In keeping with Bayer's ongoing innovation, the evolution of the Baypreg system will continue, further expanding this versatile system's use. Doing so will help to meet the needs of Bayer customers not only today, but well into the future.

About Bayer MaterialScience LLC:

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,800 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2011 sales of 10.8 billion euros. Bayer MaterialScience's 2011 sales in North America were $2.9 billion. The company manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Sustainability is central to Bayer MaterialScience LLC's business and is based around the key areas of innovation, product stewardship, excellence in corporate management, social responsibility and respect for the environment.


Thomas Erdner, Phone: 412-777-5200

For more information about Bayer MaterialScience LLC's Baypreg® polyurethane systems, call 412-777-7454 or visit

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