Last updated: November 6, 2017

What Does Urethane Mean?

Urethane is a type of polymer containing organic chains united by carbamate links. It is formed by the reaction of polyol and isocyanate. Both of these are utilized to produce polyurethanes that contain at least two of several functional groups in every molecule.

Urethane is mainly used as an ingredient in:

  • Surface sealants
  • Coatings
  • Adhesives

It is also used in elastomeric tires and wheels, like those used in escalators and roller coasters.

Urethane is also known as polyurethane (PU).


Corrosionpedia Explains Urethane

Polyurethane was first produced in 1937 by Otto Bayer with his colleagues at IG Farben in Germany. This new form of polymer offered various advantages over plastics produced by poly condensation.

The early discovery of polyurethanes focused on the manufacturing of flexible foams and fibers. During World War II, PU was used sparsely as a coating on aircraft. However, polyurethane is now one of the key ingredients in high-performance coatings that can provide excellent protection against wear, corrosion and all forms of damage.

In the 1990s a new polyurethane hybrid called PU-polyrea elastomers was utilized by the U.S. Navy as a highly durable coating for their decks. This coating method provides a durable composite that is resistant to abrasion with metal surface corrosion and brittleness resistant in connection with the bed liners with thermoplastics.

Polyurethanes are made by combining two or several liquid streams. The first ingredient stream, such as polyol, consists of blowing agents, surfactants and catalysts, and so forth. The other component is isocyanate also known as “iso” or “A-side.” The mixture of additives with polyols is called as “poly” or “B-side.” This combination may also be called “resin blend” or simply “resin.” This blend may be combined further with fillers and pigments as well as other components. Polyurethane is a major component in top coatings because of its ability to be made into varying hardnesses and densities by modifying the polyol or isocyanate additives.




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