Polyurethane provides Brazuca with outstanding properties

The official match ball, the Brazuca”, incorporates the expertise gained in a nearly 30-year cooperation between adidas and Bayer MaterialScience. The two companies have been working together in the field of ball development since 1986. From the outset, Bayer’s polyurethane materials have played a key role.The Brazuca reveals its true qualities on the pitch. This has been demonstrated not only in the sunshine, but also in very bad weather. More than 600 professional players and 30 teams in ten countries tested the “Brazuca” under all kinds of outdoor conditions. This makes it the most tested ball that adidas has ever put on the market, according to adidas.

And that’s all down to the ball’s structure. Inside, it consists of an air-filled latex bladder. This is covered with a textile fabric that serves as a substrate for the outer layers. It comprises a total of five layers based on Impranil polyurethane raw materials. They ensure optimal ball contact and prevent any moisture absorption. They are also responsible for the fact that the shape and appearance of the ball are retained for a long period of time.

The innermost layer of the skin is an adhesion coating that connects the textile substrate to the layers above. On top of this is a polyurethane foam layer, roughly one millimeter thick, made up of millions of gas-filled microspheres. This foam is highly elastic so that the ball, after being deformed from being kicked, immediately returns to its spherical shape to ensure an optimal trajectory. The outer skin comprises three compact layers of polyurethane with different thicknesses. These layers are responsible for the very good resistance to external influences and abrasion, and for the ball’s high elasticity.

While the surface of conventional soccer balls consists of 12, 16 or even 32 panels, the Brazuca is made up of only six panels of absolutely identical shape. The perfect symmetry is not only an outstanding geometric achievement, it also has major advantages: the more panels used to cover the surface, the more seams there are that could absorb moisture. Fewer elements means that the ball is more durable and more resistant to the elements. The panels are bonded together using patented thermobonding technology. The manufacturers obtain optimal results under defined pressure and temperature conditions, and with a special, heat-activated adhesive based on Bayer’s Dispercoll U raw materials.

Picture: the exhilarating colors of Brazil – the Brazuca is the official ball of the 2014 Soccer World Cup (source: Bayer MaterialScience)

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