Bayer showed a strong, lightweight spineboard produced by the Austrian company, Karl Niedersüss, manufactured using the HexFlow system from Hexcel Composites based on Baypreg polyurethane raw material.
The spineboard is constructed like a sandwich: a core of rigid polyurethane foam is covered above and below with a carbon fibre fabric. On top of this comes a decorative film made of polyamide. All these components are then bonded together permanently and solidly with a polyurethane system based on Baypreg. “This composite is noted for its high tensile and flexural strength coupled with a particularly low weight per unit area,” says Dr. Marc Schütze, a polyurethane expert at Bayer MaterialScience. Thanks to its low density, the board will float and can therefore also be used for water rescue. It is also completely permeable to X-rays, which means that the patient does not have to be moved for X-ray examination.
Bayer said that no solvent vapours are released during production of the spineboard because Baypreg contains neither solvents nor styrene. The manufacturer uses the compression moulding process, which involves placing all the layers of the sandwich one after the other in an open aluminium or steel mould. The carbon fibres have previously been impregnated with the liquid Baypreg polyurethane system. The composite is pressed into shape by closing the heated mould and cures in just a few minutes.
“The resultant energy savings, combined with the short moulding times, makes for highly cost-effective production,” says Schütze. These economical and environmentally friendly processing properties have also helped Baypreg to find its way into many different leisure activities. Used in yachts and sailing boats, camper vans, skis and other sports equipment, the material offers outstanding strength combined with low weight.
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