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Low-Emission, Aging-Resistant Coatings for a Luxurious Tactile Sensation: Bayer MaterialScience Raw Materials Used in Soft-Touch Coatings for the 2007 Sports Car of the Year the Audi R8

Published on 2008-07-02. Author : SpecialChem

Pittsburgh -- While science has developed sophisticated measurement instruments that can assess the properties of a given material, this equipment is still no match for human sensory perception. At first touch, hundreds of tiny sensory cells in each finger tip collect data - measuring flexibility, texture and temperature - and then send the information through the nervous system in the form of electrical impulses. The brain processes this information into a tactile sensation: luxurious or flimsy; soft, sticky, velvety or hard; cold or warm; pleasurable or unpleasant.

In its R8 sports car, Audi uses "soft-touch" coatings formulated with raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience LLC

The polyurethane coatings experts at Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) LLC know that a coating layer only a few hundredths of a millimeter thick can drastically alter the tactile perception of a material or a component. "Coating manufacturers can elicit just about any tactile sensation by varying the formulation and by their choice of raw materials," said Dr. Torsten Pohl, director, business development industrial coatings, BMS LLC. "The variability and versatility of coating technology are major advantages over the use of plastic skins to improve the way objects feel, the sensation experts refer to as 'haptics.'"

It is clear that product haptics play a decisive role in purchasing decisions for consumer goods such as mobile phones or MP3 players. But automakers have long known that it is not just technology or appearance that determines how well a vehicle model is received.

One prominent example: In its R8 sports car, named "Sports Car of the Year 2007" by a panel of experts at the AutoBild monthly, Audi uses "soft-touch" coatings formulated with raw materials from BMS. Other car makers also use soft-touch coatings to finish the surfaces of such components as consoles, door handles, door trims, arm rests and glove box covers, to lend a feeling of quality to their cars' interiors.

Today's soft-touch coatings based on raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience stand out in comparison with the first generation introduced to the market in the 1990s. Their haptic characteristics and their resistance to cleaning agents change only minimally after years of exposure to moist, hot air. Light and contact with hand creams or sunscreens also have a much-reduced impact compared with previous soft-touch coatings. Waterborne soft-touch polyurethane coatings formulated with BMS raw materials also have very low emissions. In addition, they are applied only in thin coats and, unlike some plastic skins, they contain no plasticizers.

"Thanks to intensive development work by BMS' Coatings, Adhesives and Specialties Business Unit, we can now offer raw materials for waterborne soft-touch coatings that satisfy even the most stringent requirements for resistance to moisture, yellowing and chemicals," said Pohl. "The fact that these coatings also have very low VOC emissions only adds to their allure in today's ever-greener automotive market."

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with nearly 15,400 employees at 30 sites around the world and 2007 sales of 10.4 billion euros. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Our inorganic basic chemicals unit produces chlorine and related essential products for the chemicals industry. Let us give life to your vision. Bayer MaterialScience - Where VisionWorks.

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and innovative materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2007 net sales of 8.1 billion euros and employed 16,800 at year end. Bayer's three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people's lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability.

This may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

Source: Bayer MaterialScience


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