Although you may not know it, at some point you will have encountered a polyurethane product. We’re also 100% certain you will own or have used an item containing polyurethane.
Why? Polyurethane is a synthetic resin that is available in many forms. It is mainly made up of urethane and polymer chemical compounds that are linked together via a chemical process. Such formations are then manipulated to form liquid products such as varnish, flexible products such as sealants, and rigid long-lasting car parts.
The polymer compound is responsible for the stability and durability of millions of products people use every day. Their durability is demonstrated when placed under strong heat, as they don’t melt. This makes polyurethane the perfect compound for elements such as ovens that emit a lot of heat and energy.
Here’s a list of six of the most unusual polyurethane products.
1. CASE (Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants, and Elastomers)
Polyurethane coatings are applied to cars to improve their lifespan and appearance. They are responsible for giving the exterior of vehicles a high gloss finish while providing improved corrosion and scratch resistance. Polyurethane coatings are also used during construction to make steel trusses, building floors and concrete supports more durable by spray-coating them.
Polyurethane adhesives and sealants provide tight seals and strong bonding in a range of applications. Polyurethane adhesive gives the first bond before curing takes place. This makes it unnecessary to clamp or hold materials. Adhesives are mostly used for windshield bonding, in automotive interiors, and shoe assembly.
Polyurethane sealants offer superb stress recovery and help to maintain the shape of a bent or stretched product. Sealants are used in plumbing, construction, and road repair – essentially, anywhere a water-resistant seal is required.
Elastomers provide resistance to temperature, impact, and shock. This is because they are rubber-like and can be moulded into any shape. Their flexibility and small mass make them easy to return to their normal shape after use.
2. RIM (Reaction Injection Moulding)
Reaction Injection Moulding is a technique that uses pressure to mix two fluid elements. The elements are introduced into a preformed mould before a reaction takes place – polyurethane then takes the shape of the mould. This technique is used to make car bumpers, telecommunication enclosures, and computer equipment.
Over the years, polyurethanes have been developed into spandex fibres and thermoplastic elastomers.
Thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers can be shaped into different parts, and when they are spun, these elastomers produce spandex, which is a flexible material used to make brassieres, swimsuits, and other athletic clothing items. Apparel is light, soft and breathable while offering excellent durability and abrasion-resistance.
Widely used in automotive manufacturing, polyurethane foams can be found in armrests, headrests and seats. Their cushioning properties can also reduce the stress and fatigue commonly associated with driving.
Their light weight and durability not only make them suitable for cushioning, but also within the body of the car itself. They’re insulating, providing drivers with protection from the engine’s noise and heat.
As an overlay, polyurethane can improve the appearance of floors, making them beautiful, resistant and easy to maintain. Flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) is now being used on a regular basis too. It is used as a form of cushioning for a variety of commercial and domestic products such as carpet, furniture, transportation, bedding, packaging and textiles.
6. Medical equipment
Polyurethane is used in a range of medical applications, including general-purpose tubing, surgical drapes, temporary implants and wound dressings. It is used because it often outperforms many other materials in terms of flexibility, abrasion resistance, tear resistance, biocompatibility, flexural endurance and strength.
Custom Moulded Polyurethane is the leading UK supplier of quality custom polyurethane products and all our products are made in the UK. To find out more about manufacturing bespoke polyurethane moulds and products, contact us today.