When manufacturing equipment for use in marine environments, it can be difficult to ensure that parts perform as desired for extended periods of time. Multiple design considerations must be made due to the environmental factors that are present in marine environments. Corrosion due to moisture can quickly degrade both internal and external components much quicker than dryer inland climates. The presence of salt in marine environments can be especially damaging, and cause issues with both mechanical and electrical systems. Over the years, Polyurethane has proven itself to be one of the most resilient materials for use in marine environments.
Long used in dockside equipment such as boat fenders, dock cushions, and bumpers, the material is unmatched when it comes to environmental degradation. Resistance to UV and corrosion makes urethane an indispensable material on these dockside applications. Marine duty electronic systems benefit greatly from polyurethane sealing assemblies, ensuring that critical marine equipment remains functional over long term duty cycles. Winch equipment, marine cranes, ocean cameras, and sonar assemblies all use polyurethane to ensure proper function even if equipment has been idle for some time. Polyurethane fenders have been adopted by offshore drilling and constriction companies to preserve anti corrosion coating on steel docks and offshore dolphin assemblies. Docks and piers made of lumber have adopted polyurethane jacketing systems to preserve the lumber, as well as guard against damage due to boat impacts or tidal debris.
For marine cable and rope handling, polyurethane is used to minimize damage to rope systems. Polyurethane rollers are also used to safely handle cables for offshore fiber optic and electrical cable placement. Using polyurethane pads and rollers, companies can unspool and place cable along the seafloor while minimizing damage to sensitive cable coatings. Offshore Oil and gas companies use polyurethane in all areas of drilling platform, including rig flooring, drilling seal assemblies, and blowout preventers.
Due to the sensitivity of marine environments, it is important to consider environmental factors when selecting materials for use near the ocean. Certain plastics can degrade in marine environments, causing changes to water acidity, or releasing microplastics into the environment. After years of study, it has been proven that properly selected urethanes do not cause acidity changes to water or marine soils as they degrade. Due to the hydrolysis that occurs when polyurethane breaks down in marine environments, the molecules are broken down into base elemental particles of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. This means the urethanes will not become microplastics in the ocean, a problem which has come to the forefront of environmental considerations.
If you have a component that needs to be resilient in demanding marine environment, contact our team for more information on how polyurethane elastomers can increase service lifespan, and make sure your marine equipment is always ready for use.