Lubrizol's Engineered Polymers' Sustainability Q&A is the best place to get answers to all your technical questions.
Bio TPU™ was invented in 2007 by Merquinsa and it was the first Bio TPU in the market. Merquinsa was later purchased by The Lubrizol Corporation and the Bio TPU by Merquinsa brand was rebranded to Bio TPU by Lubrizol. It was launched at the K 2007 trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, through a news release from Merquinsa dated October 13 under the title the “World-First TPU from Renewable Sources”.
Pearlbond ECO and ESTANE ECO TPU resins fall under the Bio TPU category.
Pearlbond ECO 590 TPU has very interesting properties: melting temperature is around 80ºC and the recrystallization is very fast. It is very versatile and can be used for such different applications as low melting temperature yarns or webs or in a shoe reinforcer, or in powder adhesives for electronic components. It has a 67% biobased content as certified according to ASTM D-6866.
We have a whole series of commercial biobased TPUs with a broad range of hardness from 82 shore A to 55 Shore D which are applied in extruded, co-extruded and molded parts. These materials are Bio TPU™ resins commercialized under the ESTANE® ECO brand. In addition, in Lubrizol Engineered Polymers we are also working on expanding this product series with new grades under development to provide extra performance, for example, color stability.
ESTANE ECO grades have low density, outstanding mechanical, physical and chemical properties which offer significant flexibility in a wide range of applications including films, hoses, timing belts, special compounds and soft-touch injection molded parts in footwear, electronics, sports, and car interior applications.
For Additive Manufacturing, Lubrizol offers ESTANE® 3D TPU F95A-030 BR ECO PL, a biobased grade for fused filament fabrication with a broad 3D printing window.
Biodegradability of a thermoplastic polyurethane (e.g., in accordance with UNE-EN ISO 14855-1:2013) will not depend on the bio or petroleum source but on its composition, i.e., on the type, structure and content of its building blocks. Bio TPU™ from Lubrizol is not biodegradable. However, if needed, the biodegradability of a TPU can be improved by adjusting its formulation. For more information, please contact us.
Bio TPU™ is a registered trademark property of The Lubrizol Corporation.
Apart from Bio TPU, what other sustainable solutions does Lubrizol Engineered Polymers offer?
ESTANE RNW and ESTANE PIR materials are our latest developments, watch the Lubrizol Engineered Polymers video to find out more about them.
Bio-content can be expressed as:
Biobased polymers are materials that are fully or partially produced from renewable resources, for example plants such as corn or sugarcane. Accordingly, the bio-content of these materials can be determined exactly, for example by the radiocarbon method according to ASTM D6866-21.
In the biomass balance approach, renewable feedstock such as organic waste or vegetable oils are used in a very first step of the chemical production (e.g., steam cracker) to obtain bio-naphtha or biogas. In the second step, bio-naphtha or biogas are mixed with fossil-based naphtha or gas and used to produce different products. In the last step, the biomass feedstock amount is allocated to specific product/s only that are sold by means of a certified method. Accordingly, the actual biomass content of a product allocated and confirmed by a producer can differ from the real one, measured, for e.g., by the radiocarbon method.
Lubrizol has a Biomass Balanced TPU grade and is open to the discuss development and introduction of selected additional grades.
TPU can be recycled*. TPU is a thermoplastic material which means that it can be melted and solidified several times without a large impact on its final properties. This impact will be different depending on how the material is processed and its age. For example, when laminating over some substrates, the cuts that are usually discarded can be recovered. In addition, after the end use’s lifetime, pieces can be disassembled to recover different components. Finally, it has been observed that TPU can improve the recyclability ratio of other polymers (for instance, some synthetic textiles).
LCA is a method that considers the influence on the environment of all stages across the life cycle of a product, starting with the basic raw materials extraction from the crude oil or plants, up to the final material or product production (the so-called cradle to gate LCA) or up to its treatment (cradle to grave LCA). The accuracy of LCA will depend mostly on the accuracy of the available input such as energy, water, or material consumption. For this reason, the collaboration between different parties across the life cycle of a material or product (raw material producers, final material producers, final material consumers…) is crucial for the accuracy of LCA. Activities and collaborations in this aspect have significantly increased recently – it can be seen e.g., from numerous public funds offered from the EU or national governments inside EU countries available for R&D activities in LCA and the environmental protection area, in general, or from different initiatives like the EU Green Deal. For this reason, it is expected that the accuracy of LCA will be improved significantly soon.