By David Reed, UT EditorBraunschweig ,Germany-No first prize was awarded in the Polyurethanes 2004 design competition organised by the FSK (Fachverband Schaumkunststoffe eV), a situation which, it was suggested, could be due to a dearth of students of natural sciences studying the use of polyurethanes. But two student prizes were awarded, and the FSK also made awards to three companies “for exceptional developments according to the criteria defined by the jury,” a 24 Nov. statement from the FSK indicated.More than 25 entries were received from students and companies, the statement continued, and there was a “very good second place” for a method of treating bone fractures using a hard bandage made of polyurethane instead of the usual plaster cast. The prize winner, Diana Hartz-currently student of medicine in the Armed Forces and participant in ‘Jugend forscht,’ a German government sponsoring scheme-convinced the jury with arguments and practical demonstrations of the invention.This comprises a polyurethane net bandage which is permeable to air and does not dissolve or soften on contact with water, which represents significant advantages for a patient with such a fracture, the FSK suggested. In addition, the jury was convinced by the application procedure and comprehensive trials done in cooperation with an institute, the FSK statement added.The third prize for students was awarded to Tanja Seiner, a design student from Karlsruhe, Germany, for her ‘nap cap,’ a head protector with noise insulation made of soft polyurethane foam which also serves as a soft cushion. This allows wearers to take a short nap during journeys or in the office in order to recharge their batteries, the FSK explained.”It appears as though there are fewer students from the natural sciences who are researching with polyurethane or other plastics, or they are participating in the work of companies which do not desire publications during the development phase, e.g. in the form of an innovation prize,” said Michael Begemann, chairman of the professional group for polyurethane and member of the board of directors in the FSK.In addition to the two students, awards were also made by the FSK to three companies:* Puren, which has developed the PurSonic sound system in cooperation with Bayer AG and Siemens AG;* Stankiewicz GmbH for a procedure for manufacturing acoustic damping components, especially for the automotive industry; and* Hübner GmbH from Kassel for the development of an operator unit with a soft surface or outer skin and a rigid polyurethane housing.The PurSonic system uses completely new sound-reproduction units which can be installed in or behind a wall and permits the sound to develop optimally as a result of its polyurethane housing.The Stankiewicz development uses a multi-layer spray into an the open mould followed by direct back-foaming and shows how polyurethane can be used as an enormously versatile and unique material at low cost and to meet rapidly changing delivery conditions.The Hübner development is especially useful in allowing buttons for the operation of electrical equipment to be produced without grooves or gaps. This not only provides unique properties for the optics but also prevents liquids from penetrating the unit.All the prizes were selected by a jury of 12 experts from the media, universities, and representatives of the FSK and application engineering.”
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