Polyurethane Different Applications of Polyurethane17 July 2016
Dictionary definitions of polyurethane describe the versatility of the polymer. The book-bound description lists the polymer as not one substance but a whole subset of transmutable plastics. Imbued with an aptitude for strength, the urethane family is a large one. Its sphere of influence goes beyond durability, putting the resilient material in diverse applications, products that range from rigid housings to amorphous adhesives, but the material can adapt even further.
Defined by a Versatile Chemical Structure
Resinous forms of the molecule are used in adhesives, with the sticky liquid adding or subtracting rigidity during curing. A huge number of Mining gear also uses plastics based on this talented polymer family. Hopper liners and conveyor bumpers made from urethane compounds absorb the shock of fast-flowing rocky streams. Indeed, the nearly unbreakable chemical links handle mechanical shock with ease, which is a characteristic that also comes into play when forming urethane plastics into shell-like car bumpers and moulded smartphone cases.
Changing Gears to Deliver Soft Products
This polymer has little trouble crossing borders. It calls upon abrasion and chemical-resistant features when used to make pipes, flexible hoses, and cable insulation, for example, but what happens when the formula shifts to target another major application domain? Well, polyurethane makes the switch without effort. The urethane family changes tact away from sticky adhesives and rigid housings, landing instead on soft products. That’s right, foam insulation and foam cushioning represent yet another major usage area, with the structure of the molecule transforming to incorporate a cell-like configuration. The cell-like structure is used in mattresses and insulating panels, among many other foam-imbued products.
Rounding Out the Set with Fibrous and Elastomeric Forms
Maybe it would be easier to list which products aren’t made from a specially formulated urethane because there’s still no end to the applications. Spandex is a urethane, one blended with other polymers to add figure-hugging attributes to clothing. It stretches and compresses, but it also returns to its normal shape when removed. Similarly, hardwearing sports gear, the high-impact running shoes and roller skate castors active types adore, well, these products all rely on this omnipresent plastic. And, finally, it’s impossible to shop for a gasket, seal, or sealant tape without running into the urethane family and all of its kin.
Labeled as PU or PUR by manufacturers, polyurethane is the one plastic that can be found in absolutely any application, but its abrasion-resistant properties, especially when partnered with strength, still position the plastic as a stunning industrial-grade material.
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