No shock: TPU innovation is far from static

We are all familiar with the crackling sound and one's hair standing on end when taking off a synthetic sweater - which is at worst mildly discomforting. In industry however, the electrostatic charging of plastics can cause the failure of electronic components and computer chips and is even capable of igniting combustible gases, vapors and dusts. On the surface of a polymer, which is at first electrically neutral, charge may be generated by contact with another surface and subsequent rapid separation. Without suitable dissipation, this charge can neutralize in an uncontrolled and abrupt fashion. To address this problem, BASF has developed an antistatic thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) granulate under the Elastostat brand. Elastostat is available as a masterbatch. The material is part of the Elastollan product range that has been embodying BASF Polyurethanes' TPU expertise for over 30 years.

Most polymers have insulating properties and are therefore susceptible to electrostatic charging. These materials can now be rendered antistatic through the addition of Elastostat. Elastostat has the edge over existing solutions in that its antistatic effect is permanent and does not require any specific ambient conditions such as a certain atmospheric humidity. What is more, the product is easy to process. The material is highly compatible with standard plastics like polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and ABS. Simply mixing it with the polymers yields high homogeneity and thus eliminates the need for elaborate compounding. For the plastics-processing industry, this is of great significance, because usually no liquid additives are processed. 7.5 to 15 volume percent of the antistatic TPU masterbatch is added. The properties of the matrix materials are scarcely affected and, thanks to the additive's neutral coloration, the material can be dyed in any desired color....

Read more