Hello! I am the Deputy Director for New Technologies of Polyurethan LLC, Novosibirsk. I am in charge of updating production equipment, introducing new technologies, new types of raw materials.
Part one, introductory.
What do I want to tell you about? Everyone writes about “who and when invented polyurethane”, so I won’t write about it.
I will tell you about what you will not read in blogs, forums and social networks.
I’ll start with this: if you read somewhere “polyurethane is red and purple, red is worse” – this is stupid, don’t read further. Polyurethane is the general chemical name for a huge group of polymers. As “metal” – a very common name, it means liquid mercury and hard chrome, strong alloy steel and brittle silumin.
Therefore, to begin with, in order to talk about the properties of polyurethane, it is necessary to understand where polyurethane is used.
Where is polyurethane used?
With a high degree of probability, the reader of this article sits on polyurethane (chair foam, artificial leather), holds polyurethane (a soft-touch mouse) in his hand, and has polyurethane on his feet (soles, insoles and artificial leather). If there is good furniture nearby, it is glued with polyurethane, the table is varnished with polyurethane, the floor is filled with polyurethane monolith (if you are in the industrial premise), the walls of the house can be insulated with polyurethane and almost 100% plastic windows and door frames are installed on polyurethane foam.
Cables are often insulated by polyurethane, decor elements of furniture and walls are also made of polyurethane. You will find 10-20 kg of polyurethane In your personal car, even from those who hate polyurethane: from seat foam to interior trim, From shock absorber bumpers to the steering wheel. And I have not mentioned this yet about polyurethane filter gaskets, gearbox polyurethane sealants and dozens of other elements.
In fact, polyurethanes, even at the chemical level, have millions of differences. These differences manifest themselves, showing different physical and mechanical properties.
That is, we can “program” the properties of polyurethane we need – to make it harder, more elastic, withstanding more cyclic loads, lower temperatures and so on.
But you need to understand that there is no magic, and there is no “ideal polyurethane”, suitable for all occasions. For example, increasing hardness, we automatically get less elasticity, increasing resistance to low temperatures – we lose in resistance to permanent deformation.
We can always find a compromise – to create the “right” polyurethane for a specific task. In fact, competent specialists do just that.
As a result, the shoe manufacturer gets cheap polyurethane with a low resistance to tearing, but with high resistance to temperature changes and friction, a horror film make-up artist gets a harmless polyurethane that can be applied to the skin, the sculptor gets a soft and easy to process, but fragile polyurethane.
And illiterate entrepreneurs take sometimes, for example, polyurethane, intended for shoes, and cast silent blocks out of it! It is clear that the result will be terrible.
A little about rubber.
Rubber, like polyurethane, is completely different. However, there are people who claim “rubber is better than polyurethane.” Guys, I met rubber auto parts cracking from a punch. And on the other hand, there are rubbers with very high rates of strength, deformation, resistant to acids and various organic compounds. But such super rubber is very expensive, and still inferior to some brands of polyurethane.
If you have any questions about polyurethane – ask, please, I will try to answer.
Mikhail Kolesnikov, [email protected]