Volume 1, Issue 2 - January 2005

Bayer Thermoplastic Polyurethanes Spur Innovative Products

Welcome to this edition of Bayer MaterialScience’s TPU eUpdate.

This issue focuses on innovation—the lifeblood of new products, new kinds of product applications and new ways to create value for your customers.

Every innovation begins with an idea. It may be as simple as how to improve a sports item or as complicated as how to prevent hearing loss. In either case, Bayer TPUs may spur your innovation and inventiveness and get your product to market more rapidly, as in the applications featured below.

Product Innovation is not just about technology. It’s also about how you apply the best materials and the fruits of your vendor’s R&D. It’s about how you apply knowledge. Often it's about asking the right questions of your material suppliers, thinking clearly about their answers and acting on what you hear.

At Bayer MaterialScience, we apply “Science for a Better Life.” Contact the TPU Business Unit at TPUinfo@bayer.com . Or visit www.BayerMaterialScienceNAFTA.com. We’ll show you how.

New Underwater Hockey Puck Uses Thermoplastic Polyurethane

Octopush, anyone?

It’s a deceptively simple sport featuring a puck weighing 42 to 49 ounces similar to the one used in ice hockey. Two teams, each with six active players and four more on the bench, attempt to strike—or “flick”—as it’s known to inveterate players—the puck into the opponents’ 10-foot-wide goal using one-foot-long wooden sticks. The playing area is 40 – 49.5 feet wide and 69 – 82.5 feet long. Octopush derives its name from the era when the sport was played with eight players to a team.

The sport has a hitch: The players need to be exceptionally good at holding their breath. TheUnderwater Hockey Puck game is played nearly 7 – 10 feet underwater, which is why each player is equipped with a diving mask, snorkel and fins. The game is fast, furious and an excellent way to keep fit.

Octopush, invented 50 years ago by English diving instructor Alan Blake, is particularly popular in Southern Hemisphere countries, although the 1998 World Championship matches were played in San Jose, Calif.  Octopush is poised to gain in dynamism, precision and variety, thanks to a newly developed puck.

The new puck is the brainchild of veteran octopush player Charles Simms, who was able to incorporate all his experience into the design.

“I was mainly concerned with improving the grip between stick and puck,” Simms said. “Being able to guide and control the puck close to the stick is essential for successful play. At the same time, the puck must slide very smoothly on the pool tiles to allow fast, accurate passing.” Bayer MaterialScience supported Simms in his development work.

The traditional octopush puck features a lead core and a top and underside consisting of an elastomer-modified acetal copolymer. Use of Bayer’s Desmopan® 385 thermoplastic polyurethane is a new feature. It was chosen mainly for its good gripping properties, its very good wear and cut resistance. Desmopan 385 also doesn’t swell when wet and displays good resistance to chlorinated water.

Another innovation is the procedure for connecting the plastic parts. The top and bottom of the puck are clipped together, and the narrow TPU edge is molded on so that it forms a flush overlap with the top and underside. Snap connectors are used for mechanical fastening.

“This design featuring edges made from soft, elastic TPU ensures that the puck doesn’t damage the tiles if it hits the pool floor at an angle,” says Simms. The new puck is manufactured by East Essex Tool Makers in Clacton, Essex, England.

Bayer Helps "Smart" Earplugs Prevent Hearing Loss

High technology, with the help of Bayer MaterialScience, allows Montreal-based Sonomax Hearing Healthcare, Inc. to successfully attack the highest occupational disease—noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Sonomax developed and markets the Sonomax SolutionTM, a hearing protection system that succeeds where other systems fail. The high tech earplugs are injection molded from Bayer’s hypoallergenic silicone. The cord connecting the plugs is made from Texin® 285 resin and the cord safety-release anchors and the Full-Block filter inserts from Texin 245.

Noise—from loud factories to airport runways and rock and roll stages—is the leading cause of hearing loss. Today, NIHL causes as much as one-third of all hearing loss in North America despite the use of hearing protectors. In the U.S. alone NIHL takes an annual toll of $18 billion in treatment costs.

Traditional hearing protectors, including foam plugs and earmuffs, often fail because they don’t fit properly, or workers remove them due to discomfort or an inability to hold a conversation while they are wearing them.
But Sonomax hearing protectors are not your ordinary earplugs. Sonomax President and Founder Nick Laperle explains: “The Sonomax Solution System is the first mass-producible hearing protection product to meet the National Institute for Occupational Safety’s hearing protection criteria,” he said.  It combines in-ear hearing protection and computer acoustic technologies.

“The reusable, custom-fitted hearing protectors are function-tested and quantified on the spotEarplugs by interactive-based software,” Laperle said. “The system blocks out sound loud enough to cause hearing loss and still allows the worker to hear speech and other important sounds.”

Sonomax selected the Bayer materials for their balance of favorable characteristics: strength, elasticity and sensitivity, to name a few. “We’re proud of our association with Bayer,” says Laperle. “We’ve made the most sophisticated earplug in the world using the best materials in the world.”

Sonomax’s devices can be customized to block out the harmful or just plain irritating noise of everyday life—from subway cars to power lawnmowers or snoring. The rattle and screech of a subway train, for example, can generate noise as high as 105 decibels, and exposure to that noise level for only four minutes can destroy some measure of hearing.

Laperle notes that hearing loss from harmful noise "is as preventable as cavities or sunburn.” He sees the day when protecting our hearing will become as routine as brushing our teeth or using sunscreen.

For more information about Bayer MaterialScience in the NAFTA region, call 800-662-2927 or visit www.BayerMaterialScienceNAFTA.com. Contact Sonomax Hearing Healthcare at 1-877-SONOMAX or visit www.sonomax.com.


Bayer MaterialScience LLC
100 Bayer Road
Pittsburgh, PA  15205-9741


The manner in which you use and the purpose to which you put and utilize our products, technical assistance and information (whether verbal, written or by way of production evaluations), including any suggested formulations and recommendations are beyond our control. Therefore, it is imperative that you test our products, technical assistance and information to determine to your own satisfaction whether they are suitable for your intended uses and applications. This application-specific analysis must at least include testing to determine suitability from a technical as well as health, safety, and environmental standpoint. Such testing has not necessarily been done by us. Unless we otherwise agree in writing, all products are sold strictly pursuant to the terms of our standard conditions of sale. All information and technical assistance is given without warranty or guarantee and is subject to change without notice. It is expressly understood and agreed that you assume and hereby expressly release us from all liability, in tort, contract or otherwise, incurred in connection with the use of our products, technical assistance, and information. Any statement or recommendation not contained herein is unauthorized and shall not bind us. Nothing herein shall be construed as a recommendation to use any product in conflict with patents covering any material or its use. No license is implied or in fact granted under the claims of any patent.

Copyright © 2005 Bayer MaterialScience NAFTA. All Rights Reserved.

Related Links
Visit the Bayer TPU Business Unit homepage to learn more about Texin and Desmopan TPU resins.

Learn more about designing products using TPU resin and how to process TPU resin.