The Impact Resistance and Reliability Features of Polyurethane Products

16 September 2016

At least two distinct classes of plastics exist today. There are the capable thermoplastics and thermosetting variants that offer limited impact-resistance features. These materials are fairly robust, lightweight, and they offer a modicum of chemical resistance. But then there are the engineering plastics, the robust materials that are entirely capable of replacing some durable alloys. Impact resistant by design, polyurethane products top this latter class.


Back on the Polyurethane Chain Gang

The chemical backbone of a resilient polyurethane molecule is defined by numerous obstinate linkages. The urethane chain crosslinks with other sections of the molecule to form one of the toughest, most versatile polymers on the market today. Additionally, those chains and crosslinks can be manipulated to enhance strength and rigidity or to soften the material and deliver augmented elasticity. In short, this versatile plastic is design-accessible, capable of being customized so that its impact resistance property can be funneled into mechanically-diverse profiles. These then vary in density from tough plastic panels to highly resilient blocks of foam.


The Impact Resistance and Reliability Features of Polyurethanes

A tailored plastic imbued with this level of accomplished mechanical resistance is one that’s employed in every abrasive application under the sun. Mining and quarrying equipment use polyurethane products. They’re the bumpers and plastic sheet liners that absorb rocky impacts and rough-edged abrasive scratches. General wear-and-tear is significantly reduced thanks to this alloy-shielding product line. Now, as the upper application limits seem to indicate no actual limitations, then this robust material is undoubtedly qualified for the day-to-day duties we all adhere to when we’re going about our business. Let’s deliberate on a handful of those roles.


Polyurethane Products are Utilitarian Champions

A long list of industrial applications could be compiled, at this point, but we’re more interested in common applications. For example, toolboxes and product housings are manufactured from this beyond tough polymer. The box won’t scrape or crack when hard-edged metal tools are casually dropped back into a compartment. As for the appliance housing, a fan or cooling unit can take a spin down a factory floor on softened urethane casters, all while the hardened casing absorbs the impact from a solid smack against a wall.

The focus of this article lays squarely on mechanical hazards, on impacts and abrasive scrapes, but our reliability feature smashes through this pigeon-hole to cover other material attributes, including oil, solvent, and chemical resistance. Also, considering how structurally sound the long-chained molecules that make polyurethane products, this robust polymer is also capable of handling heavy loads.

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