LEVERKUSEN, Germany — Covestro is one of two industrial cooperation partners involved in a new research project at the Faculty of Applied Natural Sciences in the Technical University of Cologne that is investigating how the properties of aqueous polymer dispersions can be further improved. Aqueous polymer dispersions are used as liquid raw materials in paints and coatings, adhesives, and other everyday products. The project, entitled “Applied Research on Disperse Colloidal Polymers” (DisCoPol for short), is being funded over a period of three years by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Covestro is a leading supplier of polyurethane dispersions (PUDs) and also holds a leading position in research and development and in process technologies.

“Paint and adhesive manufacturers all over the world are increasingly opting to replace solvent-based products with more sustainable aqueous systems such as PUDs, provided they have the same excellent properties,” said Michael Friede, global head of the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment at Covestro. “Our comprehensive range opens up many applications in a wide variety of industries. This will create growth opportunities and strengthen the competitiveness of our customers.”

Dr. Jan Weikard, expert for polyurethane dispersions at Covestro, hopes that the new research cooperation will provide important impetus for the further development of these dispersions. “The goals of the project are the optimization of manufacturing processes, an improved understanding of structure-property relationships, and the development of new applications for the dispersions. We focus on application-oriented research of PUDs and rapid market launch of new products to meet increasing requirements,” said Weikard.

Polyurethane dispersions consist primarily of water and a polyurethane finely dispersed in it. They are mostly used as film formers or binders in paints for the initial and refinishing of automobiles, in wood and furniture paints and robust floor coatings, as well as in textile coatings and glass fiber coatings. Adhesives formulated with PUDs from the Dispercoll® U range are used in the production of furniture and shoes as well as in the automotive industry.