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Polyurethane Polymers – Properties and Advantages

Polyurethane is an elastomer touted and used worldwide for its extreme versatility. Its has unique mechanical properties that may be set apart and then influenced using creative chemistry, and the result is a number of distinct problem-solving opportunities for improving performance to a level that is unmatched by any of its contemporaries. Many industries have taken advantage of such opportunities, enabling them to devise highly effective solutions that meet consumers diverse needs.

Polyurethane Properties and Advantages

Wide-Ranging Hardness

Polyurethane hardness can be classified as 20 SHORE A right down to 85 SHORE D, depending on the prepolymers molecular structure.

Large Load Capacity

Whether in tension or compression, polyurethane has an exceptional load capacity. As long as the polyurethane is well-designed for the purpose it is used, it will be able to take in an enormous load before changing back into its original shape the once it is freed of the said load.

Multiple Uses

Polyurethanes do quite well in particularly high flex fatigue applications. Since these polymers flex properties can be mechanically isolated, they make for an impressive ability to elongate and recover.

Impact and Abrasion Proof

Even in low temperatures, polyurethanes are the most preferred solution in applications where severe wear is a problem.

Tear Resistance

High tear resistance and high tensile properties are two notable strengths of polyurethanes.

Water, Oil and Grease Resistance

Even when submerged in oil, water or grease, polyurethane has proven to be stable (hardly swells, if at all) and can survive up to several years when used for sub-sea applications.

Electrical Properties

Polyurethanes possess good electrical insulation properties.

Broad Resiliency Range

Resilience is one of the general functions of hardness. When an elastomer application calls for shock absorption, low rebound compounds with a resilience range between 10% and 40% are typically utilized. A 40% to 65% resilience range is needed for an application where fast recovery is a must and high-frequency vibrations are involved. Generally speaking, toughness is improved by high resilience.

Durable Bonds

During the manufacturing process, polyurethane effortlessly attaches to an entire array of materials, including metals, plastics and even wood. This particular property makes polyurethane ideal for making rollers, inserts and wheels.

Severe Environment Performance

Polyurethane is highly resistant to temperature extremes, which means harsh environmental conditions and a long list of chemicals are not going to cause material degradation.

Mold, Mildew & Fungus-Proof

Fungi, mold and mildew cannot feed off of polyether-based polyurethanes and will thus not grow there, making these polyurethanes highly suitable for FDA applications and for applications in tropical countries. Certain additives also work to keep these microorganisms away from polyester materials.

Less Expensive Process

Polyurethane is a common fixture in manufacturing plants, especially when making prototypes or for repetitive, high-volume productions, and also for making one-off parts.

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Understanding Polymers