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Bayer MaterialScience develops new lightweight polyurethane system for more energy-efficient vehicles

Bayer MaterialScience, which has already developed a wide range of energy-efficient polyurethane materials for the automotive sector, is introducing the Bayflex RIM Light Weight polyurethane system that can be used to further reduce the weight of finished automotive components by up to 30%. The material has a density of 0.9 kilograms per liter.

According to VCD Verkehrsclub Deutschland, reducing the weight of a vehicle by 100 kilograms lowers fuel consumption by 0.5 liters over a distance of 100 kilometers and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 1.2 kilograms over the same distance. Lightweight structures are now more important than ever given the trend toward future-oriented drive technologies such as electric mobility.

This solution owes its lightweight design to the high-grade Bayflex polyurethane system in tandem with a clever combination of fillers that replace the usual mineral fibers. The excellent mechanical properties remain intact.

—Dr. Birgit Meyer zu Berstenhorst, responsible for developing the material

This compact material offers great design freedom for vehicle construction and can be used to make components with a Class A surface that are to be finished with a high-grade coating. It is processed using tried-and-tested RRIM (Reinforced Reaction Injection Molding) technology.

In addition to car components, Bayflex RIM Light Weight can be used for applications in other forms of mobility such as trucks, buses, trains, aircraft and ships. Bayer experts believe it is also suitable for use in the leisure and furniture sector, the construction industry and the IT segment.



If agriculture, forest, domestic and industrial wastes are used to produce the polyurethane, this could become a sustainable way to produce future light weight EVs.


Bayer also recently announce the use of polyurethane impregnated with carbon nanotubes for wind turbine blades. This may be among the "clever combination of fillers" referred to.


"reducing the weight of a vehicle by 100 kilograms lowers fuel consumption by 0.5 liters over a distance of 100 kilometers"

This goes along with a general observation that a 10% reduction in weight increases mileage 5%. So 40 mpg becomes 42 mpg and 100 mile range becomes 105 miles. This is not a major improvement, but if it can be done at low cost, then it might be worth it if safety is not compromised.

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