BASF Expandable Interpolymer Particle Foam Improves Safety of Child Car Seats

The E-por® (expandable interpolymer) particle foam is now providing greater safety in the new TRIFIX child safety seat from Britax Römer. Used in the head and neck region, this new material from BASF has tough-elastic and crack-resistant properties that enable it to meet the highest demands placed on materials in child safety seats.

Used in the head and neck region of the new TRIFIX child safety seat from Britax Römer, this new particle foam from BASF has tough-elastic and crack-resistant properties that enable it to meet the highest demands placed on materials in child safety seats. Photo: Britax Römer/ BASF, 2012

Schlaadt Plastics GmbH, a leading maker of molded parts, advised Britax Römer to select the material for its new child safety seat. “ E-por is more stable than EPS, which makes it an alternative to expanded polystyrene, ” says Thomas Weise, sales director at Schlaadt Plastics. “ We’ve tested both EPS and EPP (expanded polypropylene), and following a long series of tests opted for E-por. ” The key features of this granulate foam include cost efficiency in production and resistance to impact and pressure.

Protection for the sensitive head and neck region

These properties are especially valuable when materials are selected for the sensitive head and neck region of child safety seats. Only a few particle foams meet the necessary high demands. Britax Römer was convinced by the qualities of E-por, and the safety expert is now using the foam for the first time in its TRIFIX child safety seat. “ E-por combines the best properties of EPP and EPS, and is therefore especially suited for use in the head and neck region, ” says Thomas Kaiser, TRIFIX development engineer at Britax Römer.

TRIFIX is designed for children of the age from nine months to four years. The seat uses the new ISOFIX+ System: An upper mounting strap called the Top Tether gives the system an extra anchoring point in addition to the two ISOFIX fastenings which provide a rigid connection between the car body and the safety seat. This dramatically lowers the seat’s rotational movement and therefore optimizes the protective effect for the child. Moreover, the seat weighs only 10.8 kg, and its 5-point belt and anti-tilt system offer additional safety and stability.

The TRIFIX child safety seat from Britax Römer won this year’s Red Dot Design Award and received the grade of “ good ” (1.8) from the Stiftung Warentest consumer protection agency. TRIFIX also received the grade of “ good ” from the ADAC (German Automobile Association), which tested a total of 33 seats. The ADAC tests for safety, operation, and ergonomics, as well as for toxicity, cleaning, and processing.

E-por expandable foam

E-por is an expandable interpolymer, based on a complex formulation of different polymers which interact with each other as well as with the blowing agent. It is a crack-resistant particle foam that is very resistant to solvents too. This tough-elastic foam can also be stored, processed, and recycled like classical Styropor. E-por is especially suitable for use in impact-resistant packaging for high-quality, sensitive electronic products such as LED/LCD/plasma televisions.

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