Megatrend Urbanization

All around the world, more and more people are moving to big cities.

All around the world, more and more people are moving to big cities. By 2070, according to United Nations forecasts, about 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. Affordable accommodation, sustainable urban development, safety, climate protection, and pleasant urban environments to live in must be provided on an unprecedented scale and timeframe. Fortunately, the chemical sector is working on solutions to meet these extreme requirements. Among other things, chemistry enables us to supply clean drinking water and dispose of wastewater in an environmentally friendly manner — important prerequisites for the survival of the city as an urban organism.

LANXESS is stepping up to meet the urbanization challenge
LANXESS is aiming to give a sustainable shape to our urban future — and also to benefit from this development. The company’s portfolio includes numerous products that make urban living more comfortable, healthier, and safer. It’s no coincidence that a key role in the growth strategy of this specialty chemicals company is being played by the urbanization megatrend — and by the issues of mobility, nutrition, and water.

Architecture & Construction

The world’s major cities continue to grow while urban planners and architects are already designing new cities. In order to build the necessary infrastructure in these urban areas, they need efficient building materials. Such solutions are provided by numerous products in the LANXESS portfolio. For instance, the company’s high-performance 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, as the basic material for rubber seals on windows and doors. With modern insulation material such as Keltan®, 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.

Color up the city

Grey, cold and boring? Maybe once upon a time. The image of concrete has undergone a fundamental change. It is no longer the stuff of 1970s building “sins” but rather a creative building material. While “concrete jungle” is still not considered a compliment, today, robust concrete is deemed to be honest and authentic. Above all, it is a material which allows architects and designers a lot of freedom. It is not a coincidence that concrete is the most popular building material in the world. The mixture of sand, gravel, cement and water is very durable and very versatile. In its liquid state it can be molded into any number of shapes. Pre-fabricated concrete components can be slotted together on site much like putting a Lego® together. Even the energy consumption for cement production is exemplary – for one ton of concrete you need 170 to 220 kilowatt-hours, glass needs 4200, steel 5800 and aluminium need 45,500 kilowatt-hours. A home builder needs just 35 cubic meters of concrete to construct his domicile.

In today’s concrete jungle, synthetic 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 to make concrete look warm and colorful. In long-tem tests these pigments have proven to be exceptional when it comes to properties such as color strength, high lightfastness, weather stability and chemical resistance. They can enhance many facades and entire pedestrian areas — and they’re a cornerstone of contemporary architecture. Some of the most famous examples include the City of Justice in Barcelona, the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi or the colored glass fiber concrete sheets of the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. Bayferrox® (R) pigments are also indispensable in architectural protective coatings - for example the Eiffeltower in Paris -  impressing with their excellent hiding power as well as with their easy and environmentally friendly use. And LANXESS rubbers such as Levapren® and Levamelt® have opened up entirely new design possibilities, introducing a whole new transparency to architecture — one example can be admired in the roof construction of the Olympic stadium in Munich.

But also other LANXESS products bring color to the city. Colortherm® for example can be used to give artificial turf a proper coloration to make it virtually indistinguishable in appearance from its natural counterpart. It is also easier to care for and, because it wears better, is much longer-lasting. The perfect material for urban playgrounds and recreational areas with less natural light in the heart of the city.

Sustainable construction

Sometimes the 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. Wood-Plastic-Composites (WPCs) 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. The antifouling product Preventol® can be added during production to ensure that the material is protected against rot as if it was painted from within. The color of the WPCs is again supplied by the different color shades of Bayferrox® and Colortherm® product ranges.

Other LANXESS products enable better use of WPC materials as well. Disflamoll®, for example, is an effective flame retardant that helps to fulfill all fire protection requirements. It is also very effective when it comes to plastics, providing safety for homes and their inhabitants.

These are all small but meaningful steps towards building the perfect city — and LANXESS is doing its part.

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