Polyurethane: It’s Not Just for KICKS!
This summer, polyurethane steps onto the world stage.
Bayer MaterialScience teamed up with adidas® to design the official soccer ball for the World Cup. The company has been working with adidas® for nearly thirty years to design and improve soccer balls. This soccer ball, which has been named the ‘brazuca,’ is made with polyurethane raw materials.
Brazilian national soccer player Dani Alves was one of 600 soccer players to test the ball, and said in a Bayer MaterialScience press release, “My first impression of the brazuca is of a ball that is fantastic, and we’re going to have a lot of fun with it…Most importantly, it plays well on the ground and in the air. I’m sure all the players will love it!”
The combination of five polyurethane layers is used to make the brazuca. Polyurethane was used in the design because it is flexible upon contact, but immediately returns to its original shape after being kicked. Polyurethane is also water-resistant, which keeps the ball from absorbing moisture and becoming heavier in wet conditions.
Inside, the soccer ball consists of an air-filled latex bladder. This is covered with a textile fabric that serves as a substrate for the outer layers. “But, in actual fact, the Brazuca owes its many highly praised properties to its outer skin,” says Thomas Michaelis, project manager for ball development at Bayer MaterialScience. “It comprises a total of five layers based on Impranil® polyurethane raw materials.”
This material ensures optimal ball contact and prevents any moisture absorption. It is also responsible for the fact that the shape and appearance of the ball are retained for a long period of time.
Not going to the World Cup?
Even without traveling to Brazil, we all have front-row seats to the magic of Bayer MaterialScience’s polyurethanes.
In addition to improvements in the soccer ball, Bayer MaterialScience has also improved the durability of various sporting textiles and materials through Impranil®.
Major applications of Impranil® include sports jerseys, shoes, car seats and other textiles that require the strength, durability and flexibility that polyurethane exhibits. Additionally, Impranil® used in athletic clothing and shoes produces a high level of elasticity that does not fade after frequent use. The coating has a minimal effect on the weight of the clothing, and frequent machine washing does not degrade these advantages.