Sandwich Plate System (SPS): A perfect marriage of plastic and steel

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Article by BASF Performance Materials Division Asia Pacific

More than 10 years ago, Intelligent Engineering (IE) and BASF set out to develop Sandwich Plate System (SPS). Based on the combination of IE’s engineering knowhow and BASF’s broad experience in polyurethanes, this unique structural composite material consists of two metal plates permanently bonded with a solid polyurethane elastomer core.

Others have called SPS “first new materials technology for heavy engineering in 150 years”. It is much simpler and more robust than stiffened steel plate and much lighter and faster to erect than reinforced concrete. SPS can be used in maritime and civil engineering structures including ship components, offshore platforms, bridges, stadia and buildings.

Maritime structures: In maritime structures, such as the hulls and bulkheads of ships, load-bearing plates are made from steel, which is heavily stiffened to prevent buckling. SPS eliminates the need for local stiffening, making these structures much less complex but more resistant to high energy load events such as impacts and collisions. The continuous elastomer core dissipates stress over larger areas, reducing hard spots where stiffeners are welded to the plates. Impacts are absorbed more effectively and, for example in the event of a collision, deformation is reduced.

Additionally, the polyurethane core provides several other advantages:

  • excellent noise and vibration damping
  • improved comfort and safety
  • reduced risk of fatigue damage and corrosion
  • blast and ballistics resistance

SPS Overlay: SPS can also be used to reinstate or strengthen existing plate structures, such as the cargo holds of ships, in a process called SPS Overlay. It uses existing plating as one side of the steel composite panel formed by a new top plate and elastomer core which is injected on board. The result fully restores or even enhances the strength of the original structure. Downtime is kept to a minimum, reducing the repair schedule by up to 40% compared to conventional crop and replace methods.

Benefits and technical capabilities: Overall, benefits of SPS include:

  • Simpler, faster fabrication
  • Improved designs and in-service performance
  • Cost savings and economic benefits
  • Enhanced protection and safety
  • Improved environmental sustainability

SPS is approved by the main maritime regulators and technical capabilities have been proven by an extensive program of tests conducted over the last fifteen years by IE in partnership with BASF and leading research institutions under the guidance of major regulatory bodies.

For more information on SPS visit BASF at their booth at Gastech Singapore, hall 3, booth D350 or contact IE directly at [email protected]

Wednesday, October 28th - Stream focusing on "LNG and gas carrier shipbuilding" at the CoTEs programme. The Centres of Technical Excellence (CoTEs) is a free-to-attend technical seminar programme at the Gastech Exhibition.

To know more on Asia Gas and LNG demand register for our pre- Gastech webinar. Speakers include Arnaud Dubois Denis from BG Group, Gavin Thompson from Wood Mackenzie, Guy Broggi from Total and David Morris, Head of Asian LNG Business at E.ON Global Commodities.

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