Polyurethane is a type of plastic. As a result of its versatile densities and flexibilities, it has many uses in many industries. Here are four common uses of polyurethane.
One of the most well-known uses of this polymer is the manufacturing of polyurethane wheels. The wheels can vary greatly in size and strength, so they’re useful for vehicles as different as roller skates, grocery carts and forklifts. Polyurethane is abrasion-resistant and tough, so the wheels tend to last. They’re also more durable than rubber tires filled with air due to the fact that they’re made of solid polyurethane, with no inflation required.
Polyurethane is most commonly encountered by the general public in various foam forms. Most furniture and automobile seat cushions are filled with polyurethane. This polymer is more reliable for use in cushions due to its ability to retain its shape more easily and for longer periods of time than natural materials such as cotton and feathers. Polyurethane may also be utilized in carpet cushions, mattress pads and pillows. Many pillows and mattress pads utilize a polyurethane formulation called memory foam.
Not only can polyurethane be used in solid applications, but it can also be used in a variety of liquid forms. One of these forms is varnish. For the most part, varnishes are used to coat wood, sealing it and protecting it from the elements and from the general wear and tear that comes with daily use. Polyurethane varnish is best suited for materials such as hardwood floors, while natural varnishes such as shellac and oil are better for softwoods and delicate items, such as furniture. Polyurethane is not recommended for outdoor use, as it tends to yellow when exposed to sunlight.
Polyurethane is also a popular material in producing various components and pieces for electronics. This is for the same reason it’s a popular material for wheels. The abrasion-resistant and durability qualities of polyurethane mean that it can protect the more delicate and fragile components of an electronic device. It’s a popular material for phone cases and other protective barriers that keep phones, tablets and other types of electronics safe from impacts. Various forms of polyurethane can also be incorporated within electronic devices as methods of shock absorption for components such as circuit boards, adhesives and insulation.
Polyurethane is a ubiquitous polymer. It’s a material that can be found in everything from household kitchens to industrial manufacturing.
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