E-TPU materials lead the bicycle seat revolution

February 24, 2021

HC Plastics News:

Just four years ago, BASF introduced the first foamed TPU (E-TPU). Known as Infinergy, this material is based on BASF's Elastollan TPU and is foamed through innovative procedures. Infinergy closed cell granule foam has a low volumetric weight and a density of 110 kg per cubic meter. After processing by a standard molding machine, the molded part weighs between 200 and 320 kg/m3, between the generally lighter EPS or EPP and the heavier elastic PUR foam. Within 24 hours, it has a water absorption of less than 2% and an elongation at break of between 100 and 150%, depending on the density, as well as a good combination of abrasion resistance and chemical resistance.

E-TPU materials lead the bicycle seat revolution

E-TPU materials lead the bicycle seat revolution

Up to now, Ergon is a company that aims to provide "perfect ergonomics" design and engineering for cyclists. Through the cooperation between BASF and Ergon, Germany, E-TPUInfinergy materials are playing in the bicycle seat revolution. Play an important role.

In fact, the partners pointed out that bicycle seat technology has not changed significantly since the 1960s, and most models follow a standardized principle: rails, casings, fillings, and skins. A disadvantage of this construction is that the seat shell, as a lower structure of the seat padding, must have sufficient rigidity to provide sufficient support, but at the same time also lose some comfort.

Ergon's R&D team is particularly focused on this aspect, and in their view their team has led the development of a revolutionary “TwinShell” with an ergonomic core. In the sandwich structure, the two housings are independent of each other and are floated by a high performance elastomer damper (made of BASF Infinergy material). The lower support shell acts as a load bearing while the upper flexible shell supports the seat fill material.

This design principle adds both comfort and a new ergonomic form of riding. Since the seat shell is isolated from the support housing, the seat can be deformed and slightly displaced in all directions with the natural ride pedaling motion. The advantages are: systematically optimized pressure distribution, ergonomic design for efficient riding, excellent vibration damping and active back protection.

At the same time, Ergon's Ergoncore material is also made of Infinergy. Thanks to thousands of lightweight and highly elastic foam particles, this innovative material sets new standards in shock absorption and suspension. High elasticity has been reported to optimize the pressure damping of the seat area. Once the pressure pulse is over, the foam will return to its original state. The material retains this property even under continuous load. As a result, Ergoncore ensures direct damping response and maximum flexibility, as well as maximum durability with minimal material weight. This E-TPU foam has been successfully used by leading manufacturers in the field of safety and running shoes.

Speaking of ST Core Ultra, which will be commercially available in the US and Europe in February 2018, Ergon founder and CEO Frank Arnold pointed out: "The idea of ​​using TwinShell technology and ergonomic core design principles has existed for a while. Time, but we have never been able to find the right materials to implement this project in the market. Now, BASF's Infinergy has exceeded our expectations. I absolutely believe that Ergon's ST Core Ultra will cause a stir in the bicycle industry."

Editor in charge: Yao Chunlin

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