Polyurethane is a highly resilient and versatile polymer, which can be moulded into many shapes. There are an increasing number of uses for this material and more are being discovered every day.
Because this is such a versatile product, it is important that you understand what polyurethane is and how it is manufactured. It is quite possible that you can find a use for polyurethane products in your business. Below you can find a brief description of polyurethane and how it is made.
What is Polyurethane?
Polyurethane products can sometimes be identified by the abbreviated ‘PUR’ or ‘PU’ marking, which can be found on products made from this material. This polymer is constructed by joining chains of organic units, with a carbamate used as a binder. Polymers themselves are formed using a very complex process, however it is not strictly necessary to understand this process down to the molecular level.
The vast majority of polyurethanes are thermosetting, which means that they do not deform or react when heat is applied. Although there are some kinds of polyurethane that can be modified by heat, these are not the norm.
The Manufacturing Process
The most common process for producing polyurethane goods is called reaction injection moulding, otherwise known as RIM moulding. To begin with, the two parts of polyurethane already mentioned, the polymer and the carbamate, are mixed together. Following this, the mixture is injected into a mould under high pressure. Obviously, the mould is created in the shape of whatever product is desired. At this stage, it is crucial that the mixture is allowed to sit in the mould for a period of time. This allows the polyurethane mix to set and cure, ensuring it is fully functional and maintains the unique properties of polyurethane.
For a stronger, rather than flexible product, additives can be introduced to the polymer mixture. The most common of these are glass fibres and mica, which is a silicon based material. These strengthened polyurethane product can be found mostly in the automotive industry and are usually identified as reinforced reaction injection moulding (RRIM) products.
What can you make with Polyurethane?
Due to their unique properties, polyurethanes have been applied in a wide range of areas. These include seals and gaskets, automotive suspension components as well as industrial liners.
Who to contact?
You may by now be wondering who you can contact to have polyurethane products made to order for you or your business. While this is a very specialised process, there are experienced local manufacturers who have the available machinery to make custom designed polyurethane products for a wide variety of purposes.
While it may take additional time, it is definitely possible to have moulds custom made to your own design. This means that you can have almost any product made with a polyurethane mould – provided that you have the patience and the money to make it happen!
For more information on the manufacturing process, or to get a detailed quote for the custom manufacture of polyurethane products, you can contact your local manufacturer. They will be able to answer more specific questions and guide you through the process.
Post time: 12-12-2016