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News

Extremely light and strong thanks to composite construction

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 28 March, 2006  (New Product)
The spineboard is manufactured using the HexFlow system from Hexcel Composites GmbH & Co. KG based on Baypreg polyurethane raw material from Bayer MaterialScience.
Mountaineering, riding, swimming and skiing,popular leisure activities such as these are some of life’s pleasures. And while no one likes to think of accidents happening, they do. And it can sometimes be very difficult to rescue the injured person either because the terrain is impenetrable or because snow or water make transport very difficult. On occasions such as this, it is good when the helpers are carrying a strong, lightweight spineboard such as the one produced by the Austrian company, Karl Niedersüss. It is manufactured using the HexFlow system from Hexcel Composites GmbH & Co. KG based on Baypreg polyurethane raw material from Bayer MaterialScience AG.

The spineboard is constructed like a sandwich: a core of rigid polyurethane foam is covered above and below with a carbon fiber fabric. On top of this comes a decorative film made of polyamide. All these components are then bonded together permanently and solidly with a polyurethane system based on Baypreg. “This composite is noted for its high tensile and flexural strength coupled with a particularly low weight per unit area,” says Dr. Marc Schütze, a polyurethane expert at Bayer MaterialScience. Thanks to its low density, the board will float and can therefore also be used for water rescue. It is also completely permeable to X-rays, which means that the patient does not have to be moved for X-ray examination.

No solvent vapors are released during production of the spineboard because Baypreg contains neither solvents nor styrene. The manufacturer uses the compression molding process, which involves placing all the layers of the sandwich one after the other in an open aluminum or steel mold. The carbon fibers have previously been impregnated with the liquid Baypreg polyurethane system. The composite is pressed into shape by closing the heated mold and cures in just a few minutes. No annealing is necessary after demolding. “The resultant energy savings, combined with the short molding times, makes for highly cost-effective production,” says Schütze. These economical and environmentally friendly processing properties have also helped Baypreg to find its way into many different leisure activities. Used in yachts and sailing boats, camper vans, skis and other sports equipment, the material offers outstanding strength combined with low weight.
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