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DETROIT—ICI Polyurethanes has developed an open-cell thermoplastic polyurethane foam for automotive carpet underlays that has acoustic properties that appear to improve over time.

In a paper presented at the recent SAE exposition in Detroit, Kevin Buck, development specialist for ICI Polyurethanes, said the acoustic qualities of his company's cast PU foams improve because of compression the carpet underlay experiences in use.

The underlay's acoustic qualities derive from air flow in the open-cell product, Buck said.With compression, the underlay can reduce sound from the outside by 50 percent, he said.

The results remain the same even with a 25 percent decrease in the density of the foam. This means automakers can use a less-dense foam, yet gain a weight and cost savings.

In an average four-door sedan, the 25 percent reduction in density could yield a weight savings of 6 pounds, Buck said.

ICI Polyurethanes is in West Deptford, N.J.