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Bayer Launches Host of New Thermal Insulation Products

Bayer MaterialScience is presenting a whole host of new developments in thermal insulation at Utech 2009 in Maastricht that enable real estate owners and tenants to make significant savings in heating costs and also underline the company’s commitment to environmental and climate protection. These range from metal-faced sandwich panels with extended functionality and insulating panels with reduced flammability to fire protection barriers that efficiently prevent a fire from spreading from floor to floor of a building. Bayer MaterialScience deploys its extensive know-how in rigid polyurethane foam, a high-performance insulation material, for developments of this type, which are often created in close collaboration with customers.

Melodious thermal insulation

Metal-faced sandwich panels have proved a great success in large-area façade and roof insulation in industrial and commercial construction for many years. They are supplied as self-supporting prefabricated elements and combine exceptional strength with relatively low weight. Fischer Profil GmbH in Netphen-Deuz has developed a highly functional combination of metal-faced sandwich panels and a revolutionary "surround-sound" system and offers this under the FischerSONIC name. The modified sandwich elements transform building façades and the inner walls of halls, railway stations and other public buildings into invisible loudspeakers that also offer a high level of thermal insulation thanks to the Baymer® polyurethane system.

"Sound is generated by vibrating surfaces known as soundboards which are also made from rigid polyurethane foam and are integrated invisibly into walls," says Dr. Rolf Roers, who is in charge of the development of metal-faced sandwich system applications at Bayer MaterialScience. The advantages of this are excellent sound distribution, a clear design and - particularly in public buildings - protection against vandalism, which conventional loudspeakers constantly fall prey to. Metal-faced sandwich panels are fitted with solar energy films for simultaneous energy production and thermal insulation on roofs. New design options for metal-faced sandwich panels are also offered by printing the surface in line with customers’ specific needs. Innovative developments of this kind are typical of BaySystems, the global polyurethane systems partner of Bayer MaterialScience, which works in close collaboration with customers such as Fischer Profil to develop tailor-made system solutions.

For many years, polyurethane insulation boards have also provided high levels of thermal insulation and thus significant energy savings. Linzmeier Bauelemente GmbH, based in Riedlingen, Germany, now offers so-called Linitherm insulation boards that meet European fire class C, which corresponds to the German building material class B1 (low flammability), and can be used in old and new multi-story buildings up to a height of 22 meters if the relevant building permit is in place. This opens up promising new options in all applications that have to comply with these stricter fire requirements. Bayer MaterialScience plays a key role in meeting the requirements of the low fire class with its Baymer® and Desmodur® raw materials for manufacturing these PIR insulation boards.

Keeping fire at bay

To improve heat insulation, façades are frequently equipped with a composite thermal insulation system based on rigid polystyrene foam. To prevent a fire from spreading via the exterior façade, fire protection barriers for insulation material thicknesses of 100 millimeters and above need to be installed at particular intervals, either above window lintels or all around. puren GmbH, Überlingen, now offers a new system known as purenotherm BSR, which is based on Desmodur® and Desmophen® raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience and uses a polyisocyanurate-modified polyurethane rigid foam (PIR) for fire protection reasons. The material properties of the mineral-fiber fire protection barriers used in the past differ considerably from those of foamed polystyrene (EPS), which is used in conventional composite thermal insulation systems. Processing needs to be adapted accordingly, and in the worst cases façade renovation may be necessary. Purenotherm BSR fire protection barriers can be processed without complex fastening technology, using the adhesive provided for the relevant EPS composite system, and boast excellent adhesion and pull strength.

Apropos composite thermal insulation systems: Ibbenbüren-based EcoTherm Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, in collaboration with plaster specialist quick-mix group GmbH & Co. KG, a leading plaster and composite thermal insulation systems supplier, based in Osnabrück, has developed the innovative "LOBATHERM with polyurethane insulation boards (WLS 028)" composite thermal insulation system, which is based on raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience. It offers major advantages over polystyrene-based products, particularly for use in constructing residential houses and apartments. The thermal conductivity of PUR-HL insulation boards is extremely low at only 0.028 W/m2K. "For a given layer thickness, due to its thermal insulation capacity, the system enables considerable savings in energy and therefore also in carbon dioxide emissions of 25 percent, compared with conventional composite heat insulation systems with WLS 035.

In case of WLS 040 even savings of close to 40 percent can be achieved," explains Dr. Lutz Brassat, head of raw materials application development for rigid polyurethane foam at Bayer MaterialScience.

New climate concept for commercial buildings

Highly efficient thermal insulation using rigid polyurethane foam is also the central theme at Bayer MaterialScience’s new innovations center, which is currently being built in Greater Noida, near New Delhi, India, and is due to be completed by the middle of this year. The state-of-the-art office and exhibition building is the first project in Bayer MaterialScience’s new "EcoCommercial Building" climate concept, which can be specifically adapted to the Earth’s various climatic zones using a skilful combination of architectural devices and appropriate materials. This low-energy building manages with 70 percent less energy than similar office buildings in this part of India and produces no emissions. To achieve this, comprehensive simulations were carried out to adapt the building exactly to the climatic conditions of the surrounding area. Through this type of optimization, the concept would be contributing significantly to boosting climate protection when being implemented on a global basis. The majority of energy savings for the Indian building are achieved by using polyurethane thermal insulation materials. They show an extremely positive energy balance, saving over 70 times more energy during a service life of around 50 years than is required in their production.

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