Different Types of Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a highly versatile material that can be used in a wide variety of different industries—from industrial facilities to home goods. In fact, you may find polyurethane in several different areas of your home such as your bedding, furniture, or insulation. Essentially, polyurethane is a synthetic resin composed of polymer units linked by urethane groups. There are many different types of polyurethane, ranging from extremely durable to comfortable and flexible. To learn about some of the different polyurethanes and their applications, continue reading.

Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane foam is a common type of polyurethane. It comes in two primary forms: flexible and rigid. Flexible polyurethane foam can be created in a wide variety of shapes and firmness levels. It’s generally used as cushioning for bedding and furniture due to its supportive, light, and durable qualities. 

Rigid polyurethane foam, on the other hand, is incredibly strong and has a low-density, dimensionally stable structure. In addition, rigid polyurethane foam is also lightweight and moisture resistant. Such qualities make rigid polyurethane foam a highly effective, energy-efficient insulating agent.

Reaction Injection Molded Polyurethane

Reaction injection molding (RIM) is a part molding process that can be used to create a wide variety of products from polyurethane. RIM polyurethane is created by combining two liquid raw materials called polylol and isocyanate. Once the materials are mixed, they’re injected into a heated mold, where the mixture undergoes a heat-generated chemical reaction. The reaction will cause the mixture to expand and ultimately harden into a polyurethane part. Common applications for reaction injection molded polyurethane include medical devices, electronics, laboratory equipment, and construction machinery.

Polyurethane Elastomers

Polyurethane elastomers, also known as rubber, are a type of elastic polymer. Currently, there are 14 types of polyurethane elastomers, all of which have numerous commercial applications. Polyurethane elastomers are created by combining isocyanate, polyol, cross linkers, and other additives such as fillers or pigments. Elastomers can be molded into virtually any shape, and they have numerous admirable qualities, such as abrasion- and chemical-resistance, stress recovery, high tear strength, and load-resistance.