With its classic color scheme – white background with black dots – the official match ball of the 2008 European Championship is reminiscent of models from decades past. The “EUROPASS” combines a nod to the past with numerous innovations. Thanks to its new surface structure, the players have perfect control over the ball in any kind of weather. “Nubs resembling goose bumps on the top layer give the EUROPASS a larger surface of attack and contact surface, which ensures optimal grip,” explains Thomas Michaelis, Project Manager for Ball Development at Bayer MaterialScience. Furthermore, “The challenge facing us was to prevent air inclusions while creating this special surface.” The PSC-Texture™ is created using special polyurethanes from the Impranil® line of products, which proved themselves in the match ball of the 2006 World Championship.

            The experts from the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties Business Unit used multi-layered raw materials to master this challenge. The aliphatic, polycarbonate ester urethane-based topcoat from the Impranil range essentially places the surface under glass and provides exceptional abrasion protection. An aliphatic, two-component, high-solids intermediate coat imparts toughness and extraordinary elasticity. Below this is an approximately 0.7 millimeter thick layer of a syntactic polyurethane (PU) foam of Impranil high solids. This foam is made up of uniformly sized, gas-filled and resilient microcells, which are responsible for the ball’s high restoring forces and thus for the excellent flight characteristics of the EUROPASS. Finally, an aromatic, polyurethane-based adhesion coat provides the bond between the layers and the textile substrate.

            Since the 1986 World Championship in Mexico, the collaborative development of new match balls by Adidas and Bayer MaterialScience has repeatedly set new standards. The PU-based textile coating products from the Impranil range have an even longer history. Exactly 50 years ago, the first two-component systems were introduced to the market and proved very successful for the manufacture of men’s, women’s and children’s textiles, work clothes and bags, and luggage. Today, Bayer MaterialScience also offers waterborne, solvent-free Impranil grades. These emit at most only slight amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and are thus environment friendly.

            Like its predecessor, the “+Teamgeist™,” the EUROPASS is bonded using patented Thermal Bonding Technology and thus absorbs essentially no moisture. A raw material from Bayer MaterialScience is also involved here. The heat-activated adhesive is formulated with a waterborne PU dispersion from the Dispercoll® U line of products.

Find more information at www.bayermaterialscience.com.