What is polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a unique synthetic polymer material. For the first time, Bayer Otto Georg Wilhelm and his co-workers received polyurethanes and established their industrial production in 1937. Industrial production of polyurethane foams based on polyesters was organized in Germany in 1944, and their analogues based on cheaper polyethers in the United States in 1957.


"Material with unlimited possibilities" consists mainly of two types of raw materials, isocyanate and polyol, which are obtained from crude oil. When mixing two liquid components ready for processing, which contain various auxiliaries (catalysts, foaming agents, stabilizers, etc.), a reactive mixture is formed. Depending on the formulation and the ratio of components, with the appropriate technology, the spectrum of properties of the resulting polyurethane can be adjusted - we can get hard, soft, integral, cellular (foamed) or monolithic. Polyurethanes can be viscous liquids or solid products - from highly elastic soft rubbers to rigid plastics and processed practically by all existing technological methods: extrusion, pressing, casting, pouring.


Thus, out of the four "giants" of the modern large-tonnage plastic industry - polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene and polyurethane - the latter is by far the most versatile material.