January 18

Hear from Custom Rubber and Urethane Experts

7 Types of Polyurethane Available

Polyurethane is a versatile material that can be used for a variety of applications. From furniture to flooring, it is an incredibly durable and reliable product that can last for many years. 

Because its range of uses is so broad, there are many different types of polyurethane available to meet every unique need.

Let’s take a look at the 7 most commonly used types of polyurethane:

1. Binders

Binders are used to bind different materials and are commonly found in flooring materials (e.g., carpet underlays), wood panels, sand casting, and manufactured housing components. This type of polyurethane is also credited with giving construction materials such as structural sheathing and joists their strength. 

2. PUDs (waterborne polyurethane dispersions)

PUDs are used as adhesives or coatings with a water-based solvent. They’re a popular replacement for hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds.

3. TPU (thermoplastic)

TPUs are used in various automotive and construction applications. They’re favored due to their flexibility, elasticity, abrasive-resistance, and ability to withstand various temperatures and impacts.

Manufacturers love TPUs because they are customizable to many different shapes and colors. They can also be blown, injected, extruded, or compressed.

4. RIM (reaction injection molding)

RIM is used to create products where injection molding isn’t enough–like computer enclosures and car bumpers. It can be crafted into varying wall sizes, strengths, and weights. These parts are often dimensionally stable with dynamic properties, making them ideal for automotive, sporting goods, and furniture manufacturers.

5. Rigid polyurethane foam

Another type of polyurethane is rigid polyurethane foam. This type of foam is often used in insulation, construction, and other industrial applications. It’s known for its superior insulation properties and its ability to retain its shape and form over time. It’s also highly resistant to heat and fire, making it a great choice for insulation in high-temperature environments.

6. Flexible polyurethane foam

Another type of polyurethane foam is flexible polyurethane foam. This type of foam makes up roughly 30% of polyurethane sales in the U.S. and is often used in furniture, bedding, and other cushioning materials. It’s known for its excellent shock-absorbing properties and high resistance to fire, making it a popular choice for fire safety applications. 

Flexible polyurethane foam can also be molded into any form, durability, and flexibility. It is supportive, lightweight, and comfortable. Once it’s been shaped, it will rebound to its set shape even after it’s been sat on, slept on, pushed into, or touched (e.g., memory foam).

7. CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers)

CASE polyurethanes are used to increase the lifespan and durability of different products. This type of polyurethane specifically is great for sealing or covering things. It creates tight bonds between products and can seal them to be water- or air-tight. CASE polyurethanes are also lightweight and can be molded into any shape with high resistance and durability.

No matter what type of application you need polyurethane for, there is a type of polyurethane out there to meet your needs. By understanding the differences between the different types of polyurethane, you can ensure you’re getting the best material for your project. 

At Mark Tool & Rubber, we’ve been a worldwide leader in urethane manufacturing for decades. There’s a reason why we’ve been trusted by so many for so long. Contact us today to request a quote for your next custom urethane project.

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