Industry News

BAU 2009: WACKER Showcases Innovative α-Silanes for Isocyanate-Free Installation Foams

Published on 2009-01-13. Author : SpecialChem

MUNICH -- At the BAU 2009 tradeshow in Munich, Germany, WACKER is presenting a new installation-foam technology based on innovative a-silanes. These novel insulation and installation foams feature the same properties as conventional polyurethane foams, but don't contain harmful isocyanates. WACKER is also highlighting energy-saving Silicone resin emulsion paints for facade coatings.

In both construction and renovation, insulating and sealing are paramount. In Europe, 200 million cans of installation foam are sold every year. However, this useful product has a downside. Conventional installation foams based on polyurethane contain isocyanates, which are harmful and even suspected of being carcinogenic. As a result, the EU has severely restricted sales of such foams. By summer 2009 at the latest, conventional construction foams will disappear from shop shelves in Germany and several other EU countries.

A replacement has already been found: insulation foams based on innovative a-silanes. polyurethane is a key component of these foams, as well as of conventional ones. Unlike isocyanate-containing products, however, these novel foams' polyurethane chains have a-silane end groups. The silanes react with each other to form the polymer network. Due to the absence of isocyanates, foaming agents must be added to the product. The foam's curing process produces methanol, which is toxic only in high quantities. It has been proven that under normal conditions of use, the amounts generated are too low to pose a health risk.

The new a-silane technology shows the same product properties as traditional polyurethane foams. Construction foams based on a-silanes adhere to all common surfaces and can be painted. Thanks to the a-effect, these novel foams also cure quicker. After only one hour, they are dimensionally stable and firm. Another plus: after use, the empty cans can simply be recycled as packaging waste.

Silicone Resin Emulsion Paints Help Conserve Energy

In times of rising energy and raw-material costs, building insulation is becoming increasingly important. Exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) have proven effective in preventing heat and energy losses, but cannot always be used for old buildings or those with landmark status.

In such cases, exterior paints based on Silicone resins are a good alternative. Silicone resins are highly water repellent. They combine with the mineral substrate to form a chemical network and thus permanently protect the masonry from moisture. At the same time, the network remains breathable. In other words, even after the paint is applied, moisture can continue to escape from the masonry.

In this way, structural damage and the resulting renovation work can be avoided. And that's not all: Silicone resin emulsion paints (SREP) also contribute to energy conservation. According to a test performed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics in Holzkirchen (Germany), SREPs significantly reduce the amount of heat lost by facades. This also affects a house's total energy balance. Rendering a facade water-repellent with SREPs can lower the total heat-energy consumption by an average of around 5%.

As a leading Silicones manufacturer, WACKER will showcase the energy-saving effect of Silicone resins and SREPs as part of the "We Help Facades!" initiative.

Source: WACKER

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