Breathable TPU Membranes


 Number/Link: WO2017/178482

Applicant/Assignee:  BASF

Publication date: 19-october-2017

Gist”: Semi-permeable membranes are made by phase inversion of all-hardblock TPU solutions

Why it is interesting: ‘Breathable” membranes show a high resistance to liquid water permeation (LEP) combined with a high water vapour permeability (WDD). According to this invention breathable polyurethane membranes can be prepared by dissolving an all-hardblock thermoplastic polyurethane in a polar, aprotic solvent (like N-methyl pyrrolidone) together with a water soluble compound, casting a film and coagulating the film with water. In the examples diisocyanates (MDI, TDI and HDI) are stoichiometrically reacted with chain extenders (MEG, BDO and HDO).  The resulting materials were schredded and dissolved in NMP together with some glycerol. 150 μm thick films were cast on glass and coagulated in water, resulting in membranes with an average pore size ranging between 4 and 500 nm.  The membranes are said to be useful to make breathable fabrics for outdoor wear e.g. (“Gore Tex” (TM) – type materials)






Rigid Thermoplastic Polyurethanes


 Number/Link: WO2017/146948  WO2017/146949

Applicant/Assignee: Eastman Chemical

Publication date: 31 august 2017

Gist”: A “rigid”, high Tg polyester diol is extended with 4,4′ MDI

Why it is interesting: Rigid, high modulus TPUs have been known for a long time – see e.g. Upjohn’s classic patent on ‘Isoplast’ from 1981. These materials are high hardblock TPUs made from diisocyanates, chain extenders with only a small amount of high molecular weight diol as an impact modifier. According to the current invention however, rigid TPUs can be made using less than 40% (w/w) of diisocyanate, a high Tg polyester diol and optionally some chain extender.  The polyester is prepared from ‘rigid’ diols like isosorbide or 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol together with a ‘rigid’ diacid like terephthalic acid, such that the diol has a MW of more than 400 Dalton and a Tg of more than 40°C. The diisocyanate is pref. 4,4-MDI. The rigid TPUs have a Tg of more than 145°C and a tensile modulus of 1 GPa or higher. They are said to be less moisture sensitive than conventional rigid TPUs.


TPU Aerosol


Number/Link: US20170198150

Applicant/Assignee: 3M

Publication Date: 13-july-2017  (priority PCT)

“Gist”: Aqueous dispersion of a hydrazide-extended  TPU can be sprayed as aerosol to make protective films

Why it is interesting: An aqueous thermoplastic polyurethane dispersion is prepared from a non-yellowing diisocyanate, e.g. bis(4-isocyanatocyclohexyl), a diol (e.g. PPG2000), a difunctional hydrazine or hydrazide chain extender (e.g. 1,3-diaminourea) and a water solubilizing compound (e.g. dimethylolpropionic acid).  Together with a propellant the, composition is shelf-stable and can be aerosol-sprayed to form clear, non-yellowing protective films.

3M’s aerosol-sprayed protective film.

TPU Shrink Wrap


Number/Link: WO2017/108920

Applicant/Assignee: BASF

Publication Date: 29-jun-2017

“Gist”: Shape memory TPU is used as shrink wrap

Why it is interesting: A thermoplastic polyurethane with a shape-memory is prepared from a diisocyanate, a chain extender and a polyol comprising an ‘aromatic polyester block’, especially a polyethylenetherephthalate block. The composition is chosen such that the TPU has a melting point between 160 and 230ºC and another phase transition between 30 and 80ºC (the “switching temperature”). Films of this material are then stretched at a temperature higher than the switching temperature but below melt temperature and then cooled in stretched state. The stretched films are said to be useful as shrink wrap, especially for foodstuffs. No examples are given.
A surprising application for TPU but hardly a surprising TPU invention i.m.o.

Shrink-wrapped Helicopters (Wikipedia)

TPU Foams


Number/Link: US2017/0174818

Applicant/Assignee: Lubrizol

Publication Date: 22-june-2016 (PCT oct. 2015)

“Gist”: TPUs with specific MW and polydispersity are injection moulded together with cellopener and gas in supercritical state

Why it is interesting: The invention relates to injection moulded “flexible foams”, especially useful for footwear applications. Thermoplastic polyurethanes with a Mw of 120,000 to 500,000 and a dispersity index of 1.85 to 2.51 are foamed using a gaseous blowing agent (CO2 or C1 to C6 hydrocarbons etc. ) together with a cellopener (silicone or EO/PO surfactant), such that at least 50% of cells are open.  In the examples the blowing agent is added in supercritical state to the melt before injection moulding. The type of gas used, nor the densities of the foams are mentioned.  Foaming TPU with gas in supercitical has also been file by Nike as discussed before in this blog.

Nike shoe with foamed thermoplastic midsole