In the manufacturing industry, urethanes are parts of the components in the final product. But, urethane is also used to make the final product. Polyurethane has countless applications, and can be used in several forms. The durability and flexibility of the polymer make it ideal for engineering and manufacturing
Stated by a urethane manufacturer, polyurethane is tough to define, as it isn’t really rubber and it isn’t plastic either. It’s somewhere in between and better. By playing with the chemical formula of polyurethane, it can be made into a variety of forms, from a pliable foam to a more rigid structure that is resistant to impact.
The Magic of Polyurethane
The magic of polyurethane is that it can be formed into numerous shapes. Polyurethane can be turned from a liquid state into complex shapes that can be bonded to other materials, even with other types of polyurethane. Engineers can do more with their projects when they can use material as flexible as polyurethane.
When polyurethane is formed into a shape, it retains the memory of the shape. This viscoelastic quality gives engineers the flexibility to use polyurethane in novel ways. That memory lets polyurethane bounce back after being stretched or compacted. This is important for items like memory foam pillows or water bladders. Instead of being permanently dented by a heavy head, memory foam pillows return to their original state. Polyurethane bladders can stretch when filled, then shrink down to their original size when emptied.
Polyurethane vs. Metals
Urethanes are taking over from other materials. For example, polyurethane is being used where metals were once ubiquitous. Polyurethane will not rust. It is more resilient and flexible than metal, and it has better impact resistance. Polyurethane simply lasts longer than metal, which is why engineers are using it in automobiles and appliances. When compared to metals, polyurethane weighs less, is non-conductive, and is quieter. Polyurethane is also easier to work with when compared to metal.
Polyurethane is less expensive than metals. It can also be recycled more effectively than metals. Engineers can use polyurethane to create affordable products that have a long life cycle. It can be used with other products when that original life cycle ends.
Why Engineers Choose to Work with Urethane?
Engineers need to consider the cost of manufacturing as well as the durability and sustainability of the product. Polyurethane is affordable, lightweight, durable, and sustainable. Engineers will use polyurethane in their designs because the product has so many options, such as:
- Resilience and rebound
- Wide temperature range
- Chemical resistance
- Vibration dampening
- Numerous color choices
- Food-grade usage
- Tensile strength
- Fire resistance
- Tear strength
- Chemical resistance
No other material offers the same flexibility as polyurethane. Engineers can use the material as a flexible or rigid foam. It can also be used to coat, seal, or bond materials. It can also be used as an elastomer. Polyurethane can be added to other products as a binder, and this how it is most commonly recycled. Polyurethane can also be used as a thermoplastic or in reaction injection molding. Engineers who work with polyurethane can use their knowledge of the material to take it to the next level.