What is Polyurethane?

What is Polyurethane?Chances are, you’ve heard of polyurethane, but the question is, do you know why it’s the polymer of choice for numerous applications? What is polyurethane exactly? For starters, it’s a safe, environmentally friendly polymer known for its versatility in applications. This versatile polymer that exists in many forms, and can be adapted based on the application.

Invented in the 1940s, polyurethane has been used in virtually every industry because of its resilience, flexibility and durability. What forms of polyurethane are available? Basically every form imaginable from liquid to solid. There are four commonly used forms, including elastomers, coatings, foams and cross-linked foams.

Each form of polyurethane brings its own advantages and limitations.

  • Elastomers are used in everything from apparel to automotive parts and are known for their ability to stretch without losing their original shape and their shock absorbing qualities.
  • Coatings are used on surfaces from automobiles to industrial equipment and is known for protecting against corrosion, abrasion and chemicals.
  • Foams and cross-linking foams represent the largest market for this popular polymer. Foams are known for their strength and flexibility and are widely-used in numerous applications ranging from furniture manufacturing to commercial roofing.

A few examples of polyurethane applications include cushioning materials, shoe soles, surface coatings, building insulation, and it’s even used in healthcare to manufacture artificial heart valves. Industries are continuously adapting the composition to meet their needs. Additives such as fillers and catalysts can transform polyurethane to create a proprietary blend tailored the specific application or surface.

The origin of polyurethane dates back to World War II. Originally developed as a replacement for rubber, the adaptability of this material quickly spurred ideas for numerous applications. By the end of World War II, industrial applications skyrocketed and multiple forms were developed. Today, polyurethanes can be found everywhere from household to commercial uses. It’s in appliances, beds, cars, clothing, footwear, furniture and so much more.

The superior properties and versatility make it the polymer of choice for Fertilla roll covers. The surface quality of rolls is critical to quality. High performance polyurethane roll covers offer unparalleled abrasion resistance, hardness stability and durable bonding capabilities. This combination of properties make polyurethane the preferred cover for rolls.