What is Polyurethane?

We process polyurethane using the two principal methods of open pour casting and closed injection moulding.

What is Polyurethane

Polyurethane is found in various forms:

  • castable elastomers 
  • rigid or flexible foams
  • adhesives and sealants
  • liquid coatings and water born dispersions

Clifton Rubber manufacture parts using castable polyurethane elastomers. These elastomers are a synthetic material that possess elastic characteristics like a high performing natural rubber.  They are extremely versatile materials that can yield different properties dependant on the system used, either rigid or flexible, hard or soft, resilient, durable and hard wearing.

We process both Ester and Ether PU castable systems with an MDI base material, which is the material of choice for a broad range of end-user applications.  The classification of hardness for polyurethane relies on the prepolymer’s molecular structure and we can manufacture parts from 55 Shore A to 85 Shore D.  It is possible to manufacture parts with a lower Shore A hardness by adding certain additives to the mix.

Colour pigments can be added to the mix to enable a customer to specify a specific colour for their parts.

The History of Polyurethane

Otto Bayer and his coworkers at IG Farben in Leverkusen, Germany, first made polyurethanes in 1937.

Early forms of polyurethanes were first seen during World War II, when they were utilised as a replacement for rubber, which at the time was in  high demand and consequently, expensive and hard to obtain. During the war, other applications were developed, largely involving coatings of different kinds, from aeroplane finishes to resistant clothing.

By the 1950s, polyurethanes were being used in adhesives, elastomers and rigid foams and, in the latter part of the same decade flexible cushioning foams, similar to those used today.

Subsequent decades saw many further developments and today we are surrounded by polyurethane applications in every aspect of everyday life, such as: cushioning for furniture, car parts, adhesives, rollers, shoe soles, sportwear, mattresses and many more. 

Advantages of Polyurethane

  • Good Abrasion Resistance
  • Good Impact Resistance
  • Excellent Oil, Grease and Water Resistance
  • Good Electrical Insulation
  • Toughness
  • Low Viscosity
  • Good Flexibility
  • High Tensile and Tear Strength
  • Low Shrinkage
  • Wide hardness range
  • Noise dampening properties