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What is bio-based TPU
July 23 , 2021

Bio-based materials refer to biomass materials made from renewable natural resources (such as corn, cassava, wheat, potato, cellulose, palm oil, etc.) bio-based compounds, bioplastics, wood-plastic composite materials which made by biological, chemical, and physical methods are environmentally friendly, renewable and biodegradable. Bio-based material is widely used to produce shoes, bags, clothing, daily necessities, packaging materials or disposable tableware, hotel spare parts, etc., and can also be used in the biomedical field.

Although bio-based materials and bio-degradable materials are similar in some fields, bio-based materials and bio-degradable are difference essentially. bio-based materials is material with low-carbon, environmentally friendly and sustainable sources. They are not necessarily biodegradable. Discards of biodegradable materials product are environmentally friendly, biodegradable materials can also be polymerized with monomers which from petrochemical sources.

bio-based TPU

In terms of current technology, there are still many technical bottlenecks to produce 100% bioplastic materials. Therefore, Bio based materials which is replace some petrochemical raw materials with natural biological materials comes out. According to the bio-carbon content, bio-based plastics are divided into four grades:

First level: 20%-40% biomass carbon content
Second level: 40%-60% biomass carbon content
Third level: 60%-80% biomass carbon content
Fourth level: greater than 80% biomass content (highest level)

Polyurethane has the characteristics of abrasion resistance, tear resistance, sealing, sound insulation, and good processing performance. It is made by the reaction of isocyanate, polyether polyol, polyester polyol, chain extender and other raw materials. These raw materials and intermediates are derived from petroleum, coal chemicals that are mostly release harmful substances. Although the polyurethane material itself is environmentally friendly plastic, the degrade of it must be in a specific environment. Therefore, the use of bio-based materials to replace petroleum raw materials to produce environmentally friendly polyurethane products has gradually become a trend. International chemical companies have launched various bio-based polyurethane products, which can be used in a variety of manufacturing processes such as film coating, film blowing, blow molding, injection, extrusion, etc.

From the current public information, the common synthesis method of bio-based TPU is to replace the main monomer part with a bio-based source, such as bio-based polytetrahydrofuran, butanediol, propylene glycol, and MDI (Covestro already has a layout for biological Base aniline, then made into MDI) and so on. The performance of bio-based TPU can already be comparable to petrochemical-based TPU, and the application is almost the same.

bio-based TPU

Below we are mainly introduce the launched bio-based TPU and the characteristics and application of them.

According to data, BASF exhibited its bio-based TPU at the Chinaplas 2012-Elastollan® N, with a biomass content of more than 40% (according to the ASTM D6866 standard). It is features with excellent hydrolysis resistance and good Mechanical properties and a wide range of hardness. These features are ideal sustainable solutions for sports, leisure, shoe materials and other industries.

2. Covestro
Part of Covestro's bio-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) series is named as Desmopan® EC. Desmopan® EC is made of bio-based succinic acid and bio-based propylene glycol (Bio-PDO), its bio-based content can be as high as 60%. Compared with fossil-based TPU, its carbon footprint is reduced by more than 20%.
Desmopan® TPU products have great wear resistance, flexibility in a wide temperature range, and all hardness products have high elasticity, and also have excellent oil, grease and solvent resistance, as well as weather resistance and resistance High-energy radiation.

3. Lubrizol
Bio TPU™ by Lubrizol is a revolutionary series of bio-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), made of renewable materials (about 30%-70% content). Bio TPU™ by Lubrizol has the same properties and advantages as traditional petroleum-based thermoplastic polyurethanes, with hardness ranging from 82 Shore A to 55 Shore D.

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