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					News release

L                                                                   July 4, 2007
                                                                    P 281/07e
                                                                    Dr. Sylvia Kaufmann
                                                                    Phone: +49 (0)5443 12 2238
                                                                    Fax:      +49 (0)5443 12 2100

K 2007 Trade press conference
July 3 and 4, 2007 in Frankenthal, Germany

How to make mattresses out of castor oil
Lupranol BALANCE: polyols on the basis of renewable raw materials

Presentation by Dr. Stephan Bauer,
Technical Service for Flexible Slabstock Foams,
Elastogran GmbH, Lemförde, Germany

                                                                    Elastogran GmbH
                                                                    49448 Lemförde
                                                                    Public relations and market
                                                                    Phone +49 (0)5443 12-2267
                                                                    Fax      +49 (0)5443 12-2100
Page 2                                                                       P 281/07e

Elastogran has succeeded in developing a new polyol on the basis of a
renewable raw material and in launching it on the market. This product
innovation is made of castor oil, is called Lupranol® BALANCE 50 and
offers the decisive advantage that, as a so-called drop-in, it can
replace conventional polyols directly without a change to the
formulation. At the same time, a large portion of biomass is
incorporated into the finished product. Polyetherols constitute the main
component of polyurethane flexible foams.

Market and material
At 3.8 million metric tons, flexible foams make up a high percentage of
the worldwide polyurethane consumption. The areas of application
include the furniture and mattress industries, which account for over
80%. But owing to the special properties of this material, it is also used
in technical applications such as textile lamination or in automotive
construction. Flexible slabstock foams offer high comfort, breathability
and a property profile that can easily be modified. Polyurethane flexible
foams are lightweight, air-permeable and their hardness, elongation
and density can all be variably selected. The majority of flexible foams
are produced using the so-called slabstock foaming method. In this
process, polyols, isocyanates, additives and water are mixed together,
thus causing them to react. The foaming reaction mixture is laid
continuously onto a conveyor belt and is then cut into blocks
measuring up to 120 meters long once it reaches the end of the
installation. These blocks can be processed in any desired way and
serve as the basis for upholstered furniture, mattresses or laminated

Mattresses made up of almost 25% renewable raw material
The new product is made up of 31% castor oil. A finished mattress
made with Lupranol® BALANCE contains up to 24% by weight of
castor oil, without impairing the performance of the foam. This very
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high percentage of renewable raw material in the finished product is a
breakthrough in the realm of polyurethane base products. This has
been made possible through the use of BASF’s cutting-edge catalyst

Successful outcome thanks to more reactive catalysts
Polyetherols are manufactured through the polyaddition of propylene
and/or ethylene oxide to higher-functional alcohols such as glycerine.
Normally, this polyaddition is carried out under alkaline conditions with
potassium      hydroxide   serving   as   the   catalyst.   Following   the
polymerization, the polyol then has to be neutralized in another step by
adding acid.

For quite some time now, the polyurethane developers at Elastogran
have been studying a new class of catalysts, the so-called double-
metal cyanide (DMC) catalysts. They are far more reactive than
potassium hydroxide. Just the slightest traces of this catalyst are
already sufficient to trigger the reaction between castor oil and
ethylene or propylene oxide. The decisive advantage lies in the fact
that the catalyst is neutral, preventing saponification of the oil, so that
no odor-intense by-products are formed such as, for instance, the ring
of ricinoleic acid. Experiments to date aimed at making use of
renewable raw materials in the production of polyols using alkaline
catalysts did not meet with success, primarily due to this odor problem.

The new polyol can be foamed analogously to standard flexible
slabstock foam polyols. There is practically no need to make changes
to the existing slabstock foam formulations, which allows customers to
change over to the renewable product quickly and cost-effectively. Like
all of Elastogran’s flexible foam polyols, Lupranol® BALANCE is
provided with an amine-free antioxidant package.
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Good mechanical properties with excellent certification rating
Many requirements are made of polyurethanes in objects of daily use.
In addition to high mechanical strength, ageing resistance and breath-
ability, it is also important for the material to earn product
classifications such as “tested for harmful substances” and “Oeko-
Tex”. The limit value as set forth in the German “LGA tested for
harmful substances” test certificate for mattresses is 500 µg/m³ in
measurements taken over the course of seven days. This testing
revealed the outstanding value of less than 10 µg/m³ for the polyol-
generated levels from a flexible slabstock foam on the basis of
Lupranol® BALANCE 50. The evaluation of the odor of the foam after
storage in a test chamber yielded a value of 2.1, likewise an excellent
result. These measurements were made by the Industrial Institute of
the State of Bavaria (LGA), Germany, in a chamber test for mattresses
employing    a   combination    of   gas   chromatography     and    mass
spectrometry that is capable of detecting even minute quantities. And
when it came to the mechanical values of this foam made of the new
polyol, the good properties of the standard variant were matched.

Chemical base material from the garden
The castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, is native to the tropics and
subtropics and it grows in Europe as an ornamental shrub in gardens
and parks. Its seeds yield castor oil, also known as Verenda oil, which
has been employed for thousands of years for medicinal purposes but
which is also utilized for technical oils, coatings, hydraulic fluids and

Using BASF’s catalyst, castor oil can now also be used as a building
block in the production of polyols: the triglyceride of ricinoleic acid has
the same functionality – three hydroxyl groups per molecule – as the
initial raw materials currently used for flexible foam production.
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Photo: Elastogran, 2007
Up to now, it has not been possible to employ renewable raw materials to
make the chemical base substances from the class of polyols that go into the
production of polyurethane flexible block foam mattresses because odor and
processing problems were always encountered. Elastogran GmbH, a
subsidiary of BASF AG, has now succeeded in developing Lupranol®
Balance 50, a polyol extracted from castor oil, a natural product. Mattresses
made of this material contain up to 24% renewable raw material.

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