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Otto Bayer, Polyurethan 1

Otto Bayer

Curriculum vitae:
1902 Frankfurt - 1982 Burscheid
1921: Chemistry Degree, Frankfurt.
1927: Chemist at IG Farbenindustrie AG.
1933: Leader of the Principal Scientific Laboratory at IG Farbenindustrie AG/, later Bayer AG, Leverkusen.
1944: Honorary Professor, University of Cologne
1951: Board Member of Bayer AG.
Manager of Central Research
1961 / 1964: Member and Chairman of the Supervisory Board

Main Research Focus
Dyestuffs, agricultural pesticides
Macromolecular Chemistry
Development of new plastics
1930s: Search for synthetic fibres and synthetic rubber masses

Basic patent for the manufacture of polyurethane (PUR)
1941 / 1942: PUR-foam

First Products
1943 / 1944: 
Prototypes made from PUR-foam under the external skin of phenolic-resin impregnated paper - the so-called "parts of a sandwich".
Secret project for the Wehrmacht: Propeller blades, landing flaps, snow-skids for military equipment.
1950s: Soft foams for upholstery and mattresses. Hard foams for technical applications and insulating material. Collision protection for vehicles concealed behind film sheets.

PUR - a plastic which can be expanded and modified like no other according to the modular building brick principle. New procedures are created in order to process this material economically out of two components.

The possibilities of Polyurethane.
As a hard foam insulating material for buildings, refrigerators and freight containers... As a soft foam for upholstery and mattresses. In car manufacture, e.g. comfortable seats, shock absorbers, spoilers, inside roof linings. As an adhesive, it combines metals. In the sports sector e.g. running tracks and extremely light sports shoe soles. The sandwich construction sets a precedent.

Usage Today
Annual production about 7 million tonnes of PUR-raw material = 5 % of all plastics produced in the world. About ½ million people are employed in the production and processing of PUR.

"Polyurethane - at best useable for the production of imitation Emmental cheese." (Colleagues' mockery from the Bayer-Testing Station, 1941)