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The Lupraphen® 2602/1 polyol enables the production of low-emission foams, which are primarily used as surface lamination in vehicle interiors.
Passengers in today’s vehicles are mainly surrounded by one material: foam. From seats to side panels to roof linings, almost the entire vehicle interior is covered with a thin layer of foam, sitting beneath the fabric and leather surfaces. BASF has been working on a new polyol that is expected to significantly reduce emissions from this foam layer. The Lupraphen® 2602/1 polyester polyol can be used to produce polyurethane foams with considerably lower emissions in the vehicle cabin than previous generations. Polyol, along with isocyanate, is a key building block for foams.
Lamination inside the vehicle is the single-largest application of polyester foams. Formaldehyde emissions in particular are coming under scrutiny. The EU is currently working towards stricter limits to improve indoor air quality, including in motor vehicles. Car manufacturers are also searching for alternative materials, not least to meet the particularly high legal requirements in Asia. This is where Lupraphen 2602/1, which was introduced to the market in November 2020, makes an important contribution.
BASF spent three years developing the polyol at its sites in Lemförde and Ludwigshafen. Two major foam producers served as cooperation partners, testing the polyol in actual applications. The results look promising. “Compared to the previous generation, we were able to reduce formaldehyde emissions by up to 40 percent, and acetaldehyde emissions by even 70 percent,” said Iran Otero Martinez, head of the Block Foam Development team at BASF. “This is a big step forward. This new polyol generates real added value for our customers who were purchasing predecessor products before,” added Otero Martinez. In fact, the product characteristics of this raw material are identical to those of its predecessor, but it produces lower emissions.