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Innovative polyester polyurethane for a long-lasting shoe

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 21 April, 2005  (Company News)
Polyester polyurethane is an excellent material for manufacturing shoe soles that are likely to be subjected to rough treatment
At Simac 2005, Bayer MaterialScience AG will show the optimized version of an extremely durable polyester polyurethane called Bayflex® Longlast. The process of hydrolysis, which weakens the molecular structure over the course of time, occurs much more slowly in the new material than in conventional polyester polyurethanes. This provides shoe manufacturers with all kinds of potential new fields of application and strong sales arguments, because they can offer their customers longer-lasting and thus more valuable shoes.

Shoes with soles made of Bayflex® Longlast are lightweight and comfortable to wear. Good long-term performance properties and high resistance to mechanical and chemical influences make the material ideal for long-term professional use under harsh environmental conditions, for example in safety boots. In production, Bayflex® Longlast is easy and flexible to work with, being suitable both for direct molding and for unit sole production.

“Its sensitivity to hydrolysis used to be one of the material's big disadvantages,” says Dr. Erhard Michels, a shoe expert in the Polyurethanes Business Unit at Bayer MaterialScience. This is why shoe manufacturers normally opt for polyether polyurethane when designing shoes for humid climates. “With Bayflex® Longlast, we introduced a material onto the market with much greater stability to hydrolysis,” says Dr. Michels, “but now, with the new Bayflex® Longlast generation, we have again increased the aging resistance quite significantly, as tests in the climatic chamber prove.”

This means that shoe manufacturers will be able to exploit the full range of benefits that were previously the preserve of polyether materials, especially for markets in southern Europe and tropical regions. But even in temperate climates, Bayflex® Longlast makes a significant contribution to extending the life expectancy of shoes and is certainly a worthwhile proposition whenever more stringent demands are made on durability.

“In optimizing and developing our new soling materials, we can build on decades of experience with polyurethanes and their use in polyurethane soles. This means, first and foremost, that we can help to make our customers more competitive,” says Dr. Michels.
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