Chemical and synthetics giant Covestro, the former Bayer MaterialScience, has collaborated with Adidas on the Beau Jeu soccer ball that will be used at the European Soccer Championship beginning in Paris June 10.
The Beau Jeu incorporates the best elements of the Brazuca, the official match ball of the 2014 Soccer World Cup, but surpasses it in terms of grip and its properties in play, Covestro noted. The improved ball control and stable flight characteristics of the Beau Jeu, but also its water resistance, are all thanks to its outer shell.
“The ball’s outer shell consists of a total of five layers based on polyurethane raw materials from our Impranil line,” said Thomas Michaelis, project manager for ball development at Covestro, which has been working with Adidas in the field for more than 30 years. “It starts with the outermost skin, a full underglass print that prevents abrasion of the printed layer.”
The white surface decorated in the French national colors — blue, white and red — is very durable. The underlying intermediate layer protects the ball against external influences and lends it high elasticity. Beneath that is a polyurethane foam with millions of microspheres that ensure excellent flight characteristics. A polyurethane adhesive bonds the top layers to a special polyester-cotton fabric that serves as a substrate.
The Beau Jeu, French for “beautiful game,” actually had its premiere in the world’s first digital soccer stadium, the Adidas Future Arena in Saint-Denis, France, where computer-animated stands simulated 50,000 spectators. France is hosting the 24-team tournament, which runs through July 10.
With 2015 sales of 12.1 billion euros, or $13.5 billion at current exchange, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life, including textiles and leather goods, along with the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and sports and leisure industries.