PU, a polymer compound, refers to polyurethane. It was produced by Otto Bayer and other people in 1937. Polyurethane can be divided into 2 categories: polyether type and polyester type. They can be made into polyurethane fibers (spandex in China), polyurethane plastics (mainly foam), elastomers and polyurethane rubber.

Soft polyurethane features a thermoplastic linear structure. It has better chemical resistance, stability, resilience and mechanical properties, less compression deformation than PVC foam materials. It is also characterized by sound insulation, good heat insulation, anti-virus performance and anti-vibration. So it is used as material for sound insulation, package and filter. Rigid polyurethane plastic is light, excellent in heat insulation and sound insulation, good chemical resistance, easy to process, good electrical properties and low water absorption. It is usually used as a kind of structural material for construction, aviation industry, automobile and thermal insulation. The performance of polyurethane elastomer is between rubber and plastic with good oil resistance, low temperature resistance, abrasion resistance, aging resistance, high hardness and excellent elasticity. It is mainly used in the shoe manufacturing and medical industry. Polyurethane can also be used to make coatings, adhesives, synthetic leather, etc.

Polyurethane emerged in the 1930s. Over the course of technological development for nearly eighty years, this material has been widely applied in home furnishing, daily necessities, construction, transportation and home appliances.

PU product classification

Polyurethane products are mainly divided into several types as followed: foam plastics, elastomers, fibers, fiber plastics, coatings, leather shoe resins, adhesives and sealants, and foam plastics account for the largest proportion.

Polyurethane foam

Polyurethane foam is divided into two types: hard foam and soft foam. It has excellent elasticity, compressive strength, elongation and flexibility, as well as good chemical stability. In addition, polyurethane foam also boasts excellent processability, adhesiveness and heat insulation, so it is a cushioning material with excellent performance.

The polyurethane materials have been produced throughout North America. It is reported that the overall average annual growth rate of polyurethane foam market in North America is expected to reach about 6%. It is estimated that by 2020, the growth areas are mainly in the residential and industrial market that need spraying polyurethane foam, as well as in military filed. In addition, polyurethane will also be used in the medical industry to offer a timely and effective treatment for patients.

Polyurethane elastomer 

Polyurethane elastomer has two-segment structure: soft one and hard one, so we can endow the material with excellent properties like high strength, good toughness, good wear resistance and oil resistance through adjusting the molecular chain, so the polyurethane called “wear-resistant rubber” can combine the high elasticity of rubber and the rigidity of plastic.

Polyurethane fiber plastic

The continuous fall of spandex price leads to a decline of profits in industry. The oversupply caused by continuous release of new smart production capacity also severely dealt a blow to spandex market.

PU coating

Current Application 

In terms of the development and application of polyurethane coatings, two-component polyurethane coatings is the most dominant one whose application in the fields of wood furniture coating and other fields have been continuously expanded. In addition, one-component polyurethane coatings still enjoy strong application favors in automotive processing, basement waterproofing and other fields. The main material of this type of coating is polyurethane and it is very applicable in the production of various color paints and varnishes. Taken the biuret as the curing agent, the newly developed acrylic polyurethane paint is very applicable and reliable in automotive repair paint. Especially for light cars, large passenger cars and vans, the coating function in vehicle processing is very admirable, and its market prospect is considerable. Many new types of polyurethane coatings developed on the basis of acrylic polyurethane coatings can also be used in other manufacturing and processing fields to meet the requirements for processing quality of processed objects such as household appliances and trains.

In addition, special polyurethane coatings that can be applied to machine tool coating, floor coating, aerospace equipment surface coating and other fields are in the phase of accelerated development and research. Relevant reports has summarized and analyzed the current classification, characteristics and application of polyurethane coatings.

custom PU yoga mat

PU application

Furniture industry 

In the furniture industry, imitation wood material is one of the main application of polyurethane rigid foam. The imitation wood material is light and its density and strength is equivalent to that of wood. If furniture are made from use this material, they will not crack after molding, and the cost of production and manufacturing can be reduced too. With the increase of people’s awareness of environmental protection, wood-like materials will be more widely used in the furniture industry to replace natural wood in the furniture industry.

Building industry

Polyurethane rigid foam is people’s first choice in the field of building and insulation for its simple structure, long product life, high construction efficiency, high fire resistance grade and low comprehensive cost.

Shoe manufacturing and leather industry

Transportation industry

There is no lack of polyurethane in the transportation industry, which mainly includes soft, rigid, and semi-rigid foams, as well as polyurethane elastomers, polyurethane sealants, polyurethane glues and polyurethane coatings. The total amount of polyurethane required for a molded car is about 30kg. The amount of high-quality polyurethane products in the car is also one of the important indicators of the car’s grade.

Appliance industry

Refrigerators and freezers mainly use polyurethane rigid foam as the insulation material for home appliances. This material can effectively increase the internal volume of refrigerators and freezers at the same volume while reducing the total amount of external shell materials, which can not only reduce production costs, but also reduce the weight of the refrigerator and improve the thermal insulation performance.

In addition, the thermal insulation material in the solar water heater is also made of polyurethane rigid foam.

Sports industry

Polyurethane paving materials are widely used in the construction of sports venues, plastic runways in public stadiums, indoor basketball courts, and volleyball courts. In the past few years, the “poisonous runway” incident continued to ferment, landing the entire industry in a state of low-end and bad competition, and many small businesses operating without a license are making great profits. With the continuous improvement of the quality of polyurethane industrial products, the quality of polyurethane paving materials has been improved substantially too. And companies continue to move towards environmentally friendly paving products.

Fitness Equipment

PU yoga mats are widely recognized by the market due to their uniquely excellent characteristics.

Other industries

Polyurethane can also be used in the packaging of fragile commodities, especially in the transportation and packaging of some precision instruments, handicrafts, and fragile products; this kind of products can also be applied in manufactures of aviation, aerospace, automobile, liquefied natural gas transport vehicle (ship) manufacturing, etc.

As a leading PU yoga mat manufacturer, Speck has an in-depth understanding of PU materials. If you have any questions about custom PU yoga mats, please feel free to contact us, we are happy to answer your questions.

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