While you’ve most likely heard about polyurethane, you might not know exactly what it is or the primary functionality it possesses. To know what best suits your business needs and figure out what you need to purchase from a urethane supply company, you need to gain an in-depth understanding of what the product can and cannot provide.

By definition:

Polyurethane is a synthetic resin and can be used as constituents of paints, varnishes, adhesives, and foams. For those who are looking to open a furniture store, you should know that the foam can be used in the upholstery of the cushions to make for a more comfortable piece of furniture.

Polyurethane isn’t just in the form of foam though. It can also be turned into solids and liquids; it’s an all-around organic and inexpensive material that is good for a wide spectrum of business needs.

Due to its durability and inexpensive costs, it’s a great alternative to rubber, which has a shorter shelf-life and comes with a higher price tag.

While furniture was mentioned as one of the uses of polyurethane, this material can also be an effective solution for various other needs. 


Some Common Uses of Polyurethane Include:

  • Coating on wood, as it does not damage the wood
  • Elastomers in footwear for a more comfortable wear
  • Solid plastics in structural parts
  • You can use this substance in polyurethane casts for parts of machinery that can be used in all different industries such as military, automotive, and industrial

With having a little bit of new background in what polyurethane is and what it can do, take a look at the pros and cons before you’re completely sold on using this product.

pros and cons polyurethane

Pros of Polyurethane

  • Tear-resistant
  • Holds up to abrasion well for sturdier needs
  • Works well on natural products such as wood
  • Inexpensive so it is good for your wallet
  • Has a good load-bearing capacity
  • Can be manipulated through chemistry so it can be whatever you need it to be
  • Mostly is used as a flexible foam to make furniture more comfortable

Cons of Polyurethane

  • Doesn’t dry for 24 hours and remains tacky during this time
  • Is not ideal for cold temperatures as the bond will break down in lower temperatures 
  • Has a shorter lifespan since it’s made of organic material. The average life is between five to ten years.  

Polyurethane is a great product to use for all types of different industries. It can be used for many different functions depending on what you need it for. 


Some Examples of What Makes Polyurethane Highly Functional is:

    • Modulus of Elasticity: polyurethane is incredibly elastic and can be bent and twisted for any function you may need it for.
    • Hardness: this material can be made as hard as you want it, from 20 SHORE to 85 SHORE D.
    • Tear Strength: polyurethane is very tear-resistant so you can rest assured that it is almost impossible to tear.
    • Compression Set: polyurethane has a high load bearing capacity when it comes to compression. While the shape can be changed under extreme weight, it will return to its original shape once the weight is lifted.
    • Chemical Resistance: polyester type polyurethane is resistant to chemicals such as oils, solvents, and weak acid bases.
    • Temperature Range: high functioning in most extreme weathers, polyurethane can survive even low temperatures.
    • Flame Resistant: polyurethane is commonly used as a flame retardant, so think of something that you don’t want to be set on fire and this product is good to use for it.

what to use polyurethane for

  • Resilience/Rebound: this product can be shaped how you want it to and under normal circumstances, polyurethane can rebound to its regular shape after being bent.
  • Bulk Modulus: bulk modulus is the term that is used when material comes in contact with uniform isostatic pressure. Polyurethane has very high bulk modulus, which essentially means that it is virtually incompressible.
  • Electrical Resistivity: polyurethane is good to use in cases where you are looking to line something to stay safe from electricity. This material absorbs electricity and has a high grade of resistivity. 
  • Food Grade Polyurethane: what does it mean to say, ‘food-grade polyurethane’? When you have a cutting board or a plate that is wood, you don’t want splinters while cutting up food or eating off of it. Polyurethane is a great material to coat these items because not only will it prevent splintering, but it also safe to eat off of due to being made of organic materials.
  • Coefficient of Friction: what this essentially means is how easily/hard two materials slide against one another. Like rubber, the harder polyurethane is, the easier it is for it to slide against each other. This would mean it has a lower COF. Softer polyurethane has a higher COF, meaning it is more difficult to slide against each other and therefore causes a lot of friction. 
  • Damping: the absorption of vibration energy, polyurethane has underdamped vibration ratios.
  • Color: polyurethane can have any color added to it and holds pigment very well.
  • Bonding: it has a strong bonding quality to it, so can be used to bind two things together.
  • Temperature Range: polyurethane can react well with high temperatures but does not do well in the cold.
  • Molding Methods: since this product can be used as a foam, it can be molded however you would like. People commonly use Polyurethane in car bumpers, house paneling, computer parts, and more.
  • Load Application: as mentioned earlier, polyurethane is very flexible and has a high load-bearing capacity.
  • Fatigue: polyurethane exhibits high-performance for flex fatigue applications and allows for good elongation.
  • Dimensional Tolerances: it can be used to help assure greater tolerances to produce a better functioning product.
  • Hysteresis: this is the stress and strain of an application. Studies have shown that polyurethane does not experience a lot of hysteresis under low temperatures and that the shape remains intact.

As you can see, polyurethane can be used for many different applications. For almost every project that you need a binding agent or very durable/malleable part for, polyurethane might be your best bet!

Hopefully, this article helped you discover what you can use polyurethane for and why it’s an effective product to consider using.


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