What is Polyurethane?
And how is it used in industrial applications compared to rubber, metal or plastic?
Polyurethane is an extremely versatile elastomer used in countless applications worldwide. Polyurethane mechanical properties can be manipulated and isolated through creative chemistry which creates a number of unique opportunities to solve problems with performance characteristics unequaled in any other material.
Our knowledge and understanding of how to seize these opportunities allows Universal Urethane to provide several solutions through polymeric innovation. Polyurethane has a high load capacity in compression and tension. Polyurethane may undergo a change in shape under heavy loads and pressure, but will return to its original shape once the load is removed with little compression set in the material when designed properly for a given application.
Flexibility– Polyurethanes perform outstanding when used in a high flex fatigue application. Flexural properties can be isolated allowing for very good elongation and recovering properties.
Tear Resistance– Polyurethanes possess high tear resistance along with high tensile properties.
Resistance to Water, Oil and Grease– Polyurethane’s material properties will remain stable in water, oil and grease. Polyether compounds have the potential to last many years in subsea applications.
Electrical Properties– Polyurethanes exhibit good electrical insulating properties.
Wide Resiliency Range– Resilience is generally a function of hardness. For shock-absorbing elastomer applications, low rebound compounds are usually used (i.e. resilience range of 10-40%). For high frequency vibrations or where quick recovery is required, compounds in the 40-65% resilience are used. In general, toughness is enhanced by high resilience.
Strong Bonding Properties– Polyurethane bonds to a wide range of materials during the manufacturing process. These materials include other metals, plastics and wood. This property makes polyurethane an ideal material for wheels, rollers and inserts.
Performance in Harsh Environments– Polyurethane is very resistant to extreme temperature, meaning harsh environmental conditions and many chemicals rarely cause material degradation
Mold, Mildew & Fungus Resistance– Most polyether based polyurethanes do not support fungal, mold and mildew growth and are therefore highly suitable for tropical environments. Special additives can also be added to reduce this in polyester materials.
Color Ranges– Varying color pigments can be added to polyurethane in the manufacturing process. These colors include red, black, green, blue, orange, yellow and amber.
Economical Manufacturing Process– Polyurethane is often used to manufacture one-off parts, prototypes or high volume, repeat production runs. Size ranges vary from a couple grams to 1,500 lbs.
Short Production Lead Times– Compared to conventional thermoplastic materials polyurethane has a relatively short lead time with significantly more economical tooling costs.