What are the use of polyurethanes in today’s world?

Polyurethane, a versatile polymer

Polymer materials known as polyurethanes are fundamentally different from most other plastics. Because there is no urethane monomer in it the polymer is created almost in the construction of a specific object. What are the reasons for its widespread use in the industry? Polyurethane is one of the most important and widely used polymer materials, which is very effective in various industries due to its good physical and chemical properties. Polyurethane with its unique properties, including high wear resistance, flexibility, and resistance to oil and grease, is used in the production of various products such as shoes, furniture, tires, and even insulating materials. This article examines the features, applications of this product in the industry, properties, reasons for its popularity, polyurethane color, future prospects, etc.

What is polyurethane?

What is polyurethane?

Polyurethane is an organized polymer that is produced by the reaction between a diisocyanate and a polyalcohol or polyamide. This material is widely used in various industries due to its special physical and chemical properties. Also, this product has become raw materials in multiple sectors such as automobile manufacturing, construction industries, clothing and shoes, packaging, etc.

The origin of polyurethane

Polyurethane was first developed in the late 1930s by German chemist Dr. Otto Bayer and his team at IG Farben. Due to the rubber shortage during World War II, they sought to develop a substitute material for rubber. Thus, in 1942, the first polyurethane foam was produced and used in the insulation of airplanes and military equipment.

After the war, polyurethane production shifted to commercial use and quickly became a popular material for a wide range of civilian applications. In the 1950s, polyurethane foam was used in the production of furniture and sheets, as well as in building insulation. In the 1960s, polyurethane coatings were developed to protect against corrosion and improve the appearance of vehicles and became popular in the automotive industry.

Since then, polyurethane has been widely used in various applications including construction, electronics, footwear, and sports equipment. Advances in technology have enabled the development of new types of polyurethane with improved properties such as increased strength, durability, and fire resistance. Today, this polymer is a versatile and important material in many industries. In the next part of this article, we will explain about its applications.

Application of polyurethane in industry

Application of polyurethane in industry

As we stated in the previous section, the use of polyurethane in various industries is very impressive. Here are some of its uses:

  1. Automotive Industry: Polyurethane is used as the main material in the production of interior parts of cars such as seats, dashboards, windows, roofs, and other parts.
  2. Construction industry: This product is used for thermal and sound insulation in buildings. Also, this polymer is used as an adhesive material in the production of ceiling panels, floor coverings, wall coverings, etc.
  3. Clothing and footwear industry: Polyurethane is widely used in the production of shoes, waterproof clothing, bags, and other similar products.
  4. Packaging industry: Due to its durability and high resistance to moisture and water, polyurethane is used in the production of various packaging such as garbage bags, food and pharmaceutical packaging, etc.
  5. Electronic industries: This material is widely used in the production of electronic components due to its electrical and thermal insulation properties. For this reason, it is used in the production of products such as computer cases, mobile phone parts, and other similar products.

Properties of polyurethane

Polyurethane is a synthetic polymer that is used as a raw material in the production of coating materials, rubber, foam, glue, etc. Some properties of polyurethane are:

  1. High resistance to wear, impact, and corrosion
  2. High flexibility
  3. High resistance to chemicals and oils
  4. High thermal and sound insulation properties
  5. Easy processing and shaping
  6. High stability against UV rays and moisture
  7. Ability to recycle and reuse in some cases

color of polyurethane

What is the color of polyurethane?

The color of polyurethane varies depending on the specific formula and intended application. Polyurethane coatings and foams are clear or opaque and come in a wide range of colors. Some polyurethane products may also be colored and produced in a specific color with the help of pigments.

Research in this field

Polyurethanes are plastic polymers that are made from a combination of diisocyanates (TDI and MDI) and polyols. There are literally hundreds of different types of polyurethane, and each one is produced in a different way.

Carbon dioxide is used to create a feeling of softness and comfort in a mattress or sofa. The amount of blowing agent in the resulting foam determines the softness of polyurethane. In rigid foams, a gas such as pentane is “trapped” in the closed cells of the foam and optimizes the insulating capacity. On the other hand, bladed roller wheels do not need a blowing agent. Because consistency, density, and resistance are a priority for these products.

The reasons for the popularity of polyurethanes

Polyurethanes have been welcomed and popular for various reasons that we will discuss below:

  1. Versatility: With different formulations of polyurethanes, a wide range of properties can be obtained, including flexibility and different hardness. Also, this polymer is made in different colors and textures.
  2. Durability: Polyurethanes are known for their durability and resistance to wear, tear, and impact. They are also resistant to chemicals, water, and UV rays.
  3. Energy efficiency: Polyurethane foam is an excellent insulator that helps reduce energy consumption and heating and cooling costs.
  4. Comfort: This foam is used in mattresses, furniture, and car seats to create a sense of comfort.
  5. Sustainability: Polyurethanes can be obtained from renewable sources such as soy and can also be recycled or reused in some applications.
  6. Economical: Since polyurethane is produced in large quantities and at a relatively low cost, it is an economical choice for many applications.

Polyurethanes and stability

Polyurethanes and stability

Earth’s resources are limited and we should only take what we need from it and leave it for future generations. Polyurethanes play an important role in preserving the natural resources of the planet. Polyurethane coatings extend the life of many products compared to products without this coating. Polyurethanes contribute to sustainable energy savings. They help architects in insulating buildings and reducing gas, oil, and electricity consumption.

Thanks to polyurethane, car manufacturers can design vehicles more attractively. This feature helps to build lighter frames save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the insulation of refrigerators with polyurethane foams keeps food healthy for a longer period of time and prevents them from spoiling.

In addition to saving energy and protecting valuable resources, scientists are now focusing more on the possibility of recycling polyurethane products after the end of their natural life.

Optimizing polyurethane for the environment

Production from renewable sources: Some types of polyurethane are produced from renewable sources such as soybeans, which helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Energy efficiency: Polyurethane foam is an excellent insulator that helps reduce energy consumption and lower heating and cooling costs.

Recyclability: Polyurethane can be recycled and reused in some cases. For example, polyurethane foam is crushed from furniture and mattresses and is used in the production of carpets and various types of insulation.

Waste reduction: Polyurethane coatings are usually formulated to last longer and reduce the need for frequent repainting and waste disposal.

Reducing pollutants: Optimizing polyurethane production reduces pollutants caused by volatile organic compounds and other pollutants.

Life cycle assessment: The environmental impact of polyurethane is evaluated through life cycle assessment (LCA). This cycle examines the environmental impact of raw materials, the production process, the stage of use, and disposal at the end of life.

Overall, while polyurethane is not a perfect solution, it is a sustainable choice when produced and used responsibly.

The role of polyurethane in everyday life

Human daily life is mixed with polyurethane and these products are used abundantly in household items. As:


Polyurethane foam is very popular in making mattresses with its properties of heat and sound insulation, softness, and flexibility. Also, polyurethane foam is used to maintain the shape and structure of the mattress. Polyurethane foam is placed like a layer on the mattress and its softness and flexibility adjusts to the shape of the person’s body who sleeps on the mattress.


Most of the soft furniture in the house is made of polyurethane. The feeling of comfort and relaxation when sinking into the sofa at the end of a long day is all thanks to polyurethane foams. The flexibility, durability, strength, and comfort of foams have made it used in most office furniture as well as theater seats and cinema and conference halls.


Since polyurethanes are light and flexible, they are found in all kinds of clothes. Whether in shoes, to make water-resistant soles or lightweight uppers, or in jackets and warm clothing, polyurethanes add to the user’s overall sense of comfort.


Polyurethane carpet is easily a carpet. Thermal insulation prevents heat loss and by absorbing friction makes the carpet softer and reduces its wear and tear.


Most seat cushions and interiors of cars and trucks are made of polyurethane to reduce vibration and make the journey more comfortable for the driver and passengers. Car bodies often contain polyurethane to insulate them against engine and traffic noise and heat. Also, the polyurethane in the bumpers helps to absorb the effects of accidents. The lightweight nature of this material leads to a reduction in overall weight and greater fuel efficiency in the vehicle.

In addition, the development of new technology and processes leads to innovation in the polyurethane industry. For example, the use of 3D printing technology to create polyurethane parts and products is expanding. This technology allows for greater design flexibility and customization, as well as faster production times.

Versatility of polyurethanes

Few products can compete with polyurethane in terms of variety and popularity. From insulation to surfboards, from car airbags to window sealants, polyurethanes are ubiquitous in our daily lives.

Factors such as reasonable price, safety, and recyclability lead to the increasing use and increasing success of this material in the industry. These features have made manufacturers and retailers around the world choose this polymer. The use of polyurethane meets consumer expectations and increases the popularity of this technology. Polyurethane, unlike some other materials with similar performance, has no shortage and can be manufactured to exact specifications. For example:

If mattress manufacturers request tighter compatibility for foams, polyurethane manufacturers will work with mattress designers to meet these specific requirements.

If car manufacturers are obliged by law to reduce the noise inside cars, polyurethane manufacturers will show the necessary flexibility to achieve the required goals.

Final speech, perspective to the future

The outlook for polyurethanes in the future is very bright. This material is used for insulations and coatings to adhesives and sealants. In recent years, there has been an increasing trend towards the production of bio-based polyurethanes, which are made from renewable sources such as vegetable oils and vegetable sugars. These bio-based polyurethanes have the potential to reduce environmental impacts and are a more sustainable alternative to traditional petroleum-based polyurethanes.

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