It rolls around every four years: The best national soccer teams meet to play for the world championship. Hundreds of millions of people are on their feet or on the edge of their seats in the stands, at public viewing events or at home in front of their televisions. Whether Messi, Ronaldo, and company cause rapture, delight, or indeed despair with their performances this year in Brazil, won’t just be a function of the players’ physical attributes.
LANXESS Products are in the thick of it at big sports events
The interaction between physical fitness and materials is crucial. For example, the correct cleats make an important contribution to successful play. They must be stable and light. Experts all over the world are tirelessly tinkering with possibilities for optimization.
LANXESS is also involved with many products around the sport: Renowned brands use the high performance fiber composite Tepex® for the soles of their cleats, which the LANXESS subsidiary Bond Laminates produces in Brilon, located in the Sauerland hill region. The material is particularly firm and rigid due to the use of continuous filaments. At the same time, its weight is extremely low. Many successful players appreciate this and will be competing for the world championship in cleats that have Tepex® soles.
Scoring goals with scuff-proof leather cleats
Many models of soccer cleats have uppers of high quality leather, which is “refined” after tanning with special coatings. This production stage, which in the jargon of the trade is called “finishing”, does not merely provide shine, color, and a pleasant surface feel. For soccer cleats, it does one thing above all else: Despite continuous contact with the ball, grass, soil, and water, the leather remains virtually unscathed. Applied in gossamer-thin layers, the LANXESS synthetic polymers – such as Aquaderm, Bayderm or Euderm from the polyacrylate and polyurethane families – make the leather robust. The Cologne group of specialist chemistry companies has a complete range of all products necessary for leather production – including organic and synthetic tanning agents, preservatives, fat liquors, dyes, and pigments, as well as tanning and finishing agents.
Pigments let stadiums shine
For decades, LANXESS pigments have brought color to stadiums, landmarks, or urban infrastructure such as streets, squares, bus lanes, and cycle paths. This is also true in Brazil. More than 120 tons of Bayferrox® and Colortherm® pigments have been used their in buildings and infrastructure projects. For example, around the Arena das Dunas, a new soccer stadium that has been built in the city of Natal for the World Cup. The paving stones on the forecourts have been stained with yellow Bayferrox® pigment, which produces bright colors. In the multipurpose stadium, Arena Pantanal in the city of Cuiabá, concrete slabs colored yellow and brown have been used. Bayferrox® pigments are responsible for the right shade. Their high resistance to light, weather, and chemicals is persuasive.
LANXESS products have already been used in South Africa in 2010. Such as, in the ultramodern “Soccer City” stadium in Johannesburg, where the opening game and the final of the world championship were played. The color components of the high quality glass fiber concrete stadium façade are Bayferrox®pigments. The natural-looking colors of the 33,600 stained glass fiber concrete slabs reflect the orange-brown colors of the African calabash on the 43,000 square meter outer shell.
When the fans are on their feet
The fans are quite close to LANXESS products on the stadium seats. Here, the versatile high-performance plastic Durethane® replaces the metal supports normally used for seats in stadiums and other sports venues. The premium plastic used for the seat supports withstands loads of up to 600 kilograms. The main advantages of Durethane® are its stability and durability under static and dynamic loads, and its resistance to corrosion. By using injection molding methods, the Durethan® supports and seat buckets can be shaped in such a way that they have no sharp edges on which the fans could hurt themselves. Parts in which hands or feet could get caught can also be avoided.
Colortherm makes the grass greener
Furthermore, Colortherm® by LANXESS provides a lush green on the field. The world soccer federation has defined the demanding quality standard 2 star for the use of artificial turf for international tournaments. Players’ experience, knowledge gained from medical research, and the results from industrial testing have all contributed to this norm. Only artificial turf that passes the test of the world soccer federation can be approved as an official playing surface for national and international competitions.
Artificial turf can be dyed with Colortherm® iron oxide pigments in combination with organic phthalocyanine pigments. Colortherm® is not only cost-saving but also particularly light-fast and weather-resistant. The pigments survive the life of the turf without losing their color intensity. ”They match the natural shade of grass exactly, so at first glance you can hardly distinguish between real and artificial turf”, says Ralf Gerhard König, marketing expert for Colortherm® by LANXESS. Iron oxide pigments, which also occur naturally in the same form in the earth’s crust, are environmentally friendly and harmless to health. “Apart from sports stadiums, dyed artificial turf can also be laid on golf courses, tennis courts, cricket pitches, and bowling greens. It can also be used indoors – for example, for grass surfaces in covered water parks or tropical bathing paradises”, explains König.