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LANXESS helps build the city of future

  • LANXESS products touch our every day lives
  • Increased urbanization creates demand for more comfortable, healthier and safer products
  • LANXESS engages in continuous innovation and develops high performance yet sustainable products through ‘green chemistry’

More and more people in India are now moving to towns and cities from villages, says the recently published census data. The growth rate of population for India in the last decade was 17.64%. The growth rate of population in rural and urban areas was 12.18% and 31.80% respectively, which means the rate of growth of population in urban areas is higher than the national average and this has been the highest amongst the last few decades.

Urbanization leads to modernization and improvement in the quality and nature of lifestyles as compared to that of a rural area. Increased urbanization implies that there is a huge need for improved infrastructure, ample housing options, greater availability of public transport and better medical facilities among other things.

For all these aspects to function efficiently, high performance and sustainable materials are needed. These materials in turn are composed of interesting chemical compositions. In effect, there is a little bit of chemistry in our everyday lives that makes this possible.

At LANXESS, through years of rigorous research and development, the company boasts of an array of products that in different ways play a role in our day-to-day lives and make urban living more comfortable, healthier and safer.

For example, let’s take the case of modern detergents and dishwashing liquids, which offer superior cleaning while not being harmful to the environment. Detergents and dishwashing liquids contain dispersing and complexing agents, whose job is to soften water or otherwise enable better use of available water. In the past these additives were not biodegradable and persisted in the environment for a long time, sometimes leaching into groundwater, and causing environmental problems. LANXESS has developed innovative biodegradable water softeners and other additives, part of its Baypure product line, which are meant to be used in washing machines and dishwashers. Baypure envelops the calcium and magnesium ions dissolved in water, which can cause chalky limescale deposits, and keeps them suspended, preventing limescale deposits. It even softens existing scale. Baypure boasts of excellent green credentials because it is biodegradable and much safer for the environment.

Some LANXESS products contribute in improving the quality of water in various ways. For example, the Lewatit brand’s ion exchange resins remove heavy metals and lime from water. Another future-oriented solution for water treatment is membrane filter technology, in which a kind of selective partition allows certain substances to pass through while blocking other unwanted kinds. This allows us to filter nitrates, pesticides, viruses, and bacteria out of the water. One of the most dangerous contaminants of drinking water is arsenic. With the iron oxide adsorber Bayoxide E 33 and the hybrid adsorber Lewatit FO 36, LANXESS offers highly developed systems for transforming contaminated water into safe drinking water. And last but not least, the rubbers developed by LANXESS help to reduce water loss during transportation. They serve to seal water pipes safely and thus ensure that this precious resource will reach more and more people.

The urban population powered by a rising middle class will opt for more vehicles – more cars. This inevitably adds to the greenhouse emissions making the urban air more polluted and unfit to breathe in. Given the pollution of air by fossil fuel-powered vehicles, low-emission vehicles are needed for the megacities of the future. LANXESS synthetic rubbers make up the material for “green tires” that roll with less resistance. The company also produces special plastics for lightweight cars that help to reduce fuel consumption, and thus also carbon dioxide emissions. Lightweight engineering is an effective tool to extend the range of climate-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles.

The company’s high-performance synthetic rubbers are among the materials used in the construction of homes, public buildings, bridges, and sports stadiums. They also provide the basic material for damping elements in the foundations of skyscrapers, ensuring greater safety in the event of earthquakes. What’s more, they make up the rubber bearings of bridges and individual bridge elements, as well as the basis for floor coverings that need to be extremely durable, for example in train stations, airports, and sports stadiums. The rubbers are equally effective on a smaller scale — for instance, high-performance rubber grades from LANXESS are present in golf balls and sports shoes. They are also used as the basic material for rubber seals on windows and doors. With modern insulation material such as Buna EP, LANXESS prevents the loss of warmth from heating systems and cooling from air conditioning systems — thus creating a pleasant climate in the home. In addition, the fast-drying and environmentally friendly screeds of the CAB 30 calcium sulfate binder provide a perfect solution for new buildings and building renovations of all kinds.

In today’s concrete jungle, iron oxide pigments from LANXESS give dreary gray buildings a colorful new finish. Under the brand name Bayferrox, the company offers more than 150 products for dyeing concrete. They can enhance many facades and entire pedestrian areas — and they’re a cornerstone of contemporary architecture.

Besides small things count too. Today every individual builder can opt for sustainable construction materials to help reduce the urban carbon footprint. One excellent example is the use of wood. This natural material provides highly effective insulation and thus helps to improve energy efficiency. LANXESS products enable better use of this versatile material. Disflamoll, for example, is an effective flame retardant that helps to fulfill all fire protection requirements. LANXESS flame retardants are also very effective when it comes to plastics, providing safety for homes and their inhabitants.

Wood is considered to be a very versatile building material but has a certain drawback. As a natural material it needs protection otherwise it decomposes as a result of microbial activity, or turns gray in the sunlight. While dozens of methods of treatment have been tried over the decades, the application of preservatives is only at the surface and hence the effect doesn’t last long. This demands that the timber needs to be protected in entirety rather than just at the surface. Wood plastic composites (WPC) are a viable answer. WPCs, which are fast gaining popularity, can be seen as an improved version of natural wood: they are made of wood fibers bonded with plastic to form a very robust material. LANXESS offers a highly efficient wood preservative named Preventol MPT 11-40. It can be added during production to ensure that the material is protected against rot throughout.

This is how LANXESS is aiming to give a sustainable shape to our urban future and will also benefit from this development. It’s no coincidence that a key role in the growth strategy of this specialty chemicals company is being played by the megatrends — urbanization, mobility, agriculture and water.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by LANXESS AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 7.1 billion in 2010 and currently around 15,800 employees in 30 countries. The company is at present represented at 46 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.

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