Polyurethane is a highly versatile material that has a wide variety of applications. In addition to being highly flexible, making it ideal for comfort and relaxation applications, polyurethane can also be extremely rigid and durable for use in industrial environments. Read on to learn about some of the different applications of polyurethane.
Polyurethane is often used as insulation. People use it to create closed and open-cell spray foam insulation. Essentially, people combine polyol resin and a form of isocyanate to create a polyurethane foam that you can spray. This foam then hardens to form a highly efficient insulating barrier that never loses its shape or decreases in R-value. Due to the many benefits of spray foam insulation such as its durability and moisture resistance, this material is one of the most popular insulation types currently used in homes.
In addition to insulation, polyurethane is also used for furniture. In the form of flexible foam, polyurethane is made into a cushioning material for upholstered furniture. This foam provides the softness and flexibility needed for comfort while also offering the strength required for reliable, long-lasting pieces.
This is another application of polyurethane: parts. People can use polyurethane to create durable parts for medical devices, automobiles, construction machinery, and lab equipment. For this, workers use the process of reaction injection molding.
Reaction injection molding refers to a parts molding process in which polyurethane is injected into an aluminum mold or tool. Once injected, the polyurethane expands and hardens to fit the shape of the tool. Through this process, workers can produce highly complex and durable polyurethane parts at low to moderate production volumes.
People can also use polyurethane foam in shoes. The flexible yet stable nature of polyurethane makes it a great option for the midsole in footwear. It can bend and stretch to facilitate the natural motion of the foot, and the sturdiness of polyurethane ensures that it won’t wear out quickly. Polyurethane foam is particularly advantageous for the creation of athletic footwear.