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Polyurethane Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants and Elastomers (CASE)

Laura Dickemann
Automotive Coating Application with Proper Personal Protective Equipment

The uses of polyurethanes in the CASE marketplace offer a broad and growing spectrum of applications and benefits.

Polyurethane Coatings

Polyurethane coatings are applied to products to improve their appearance and lifespan. On cars, polyurethane coatings give the exterior a high gloss and improved color retention, while offering improved scratch- and corrosion-resistance.

Other types of polyurethane coatings are used in construction, where building floors, steel trusses and concrete supports are spray-coated to make them more durable and less costly to maintain. This coating, for example, makes a suspension bridge easier to clean, helps to keep its support beams from rusting, and improves its appearance even from a great distance.

Coatings used in the aerospace industry protect the external parts of aircraft from extreme temperature differences—from summer heat on the ground to below-freezing at cruising altitudes—and help protect the skin of the plane from rust and pitting.

Polyurethane Adhesives and Sealants

Polyurethane adhesives and sealants provide strong bonding and tight seals in a variety of applications. Polyurethane adhesives provide the advantage of a rapid development of "green strength," where the adhesive provides an initial bond before fully curing. This reduces the need for clamping and holding materials, which may help cut costs and increase manufacturing and construction flexibility. Since polyurethane chemistry is so versatile, custom adhesives and sealants displaying a wide variety of chemical and physical properties can be manufactured.

Polyurethane adhesives are used in the assembly of shoes, automotive interiors, windshield bonding and as textile laminates. Conveyor belts are usually closed using polyurethane adhesives, and polyurethane binders are mixed with wood chips or saw dust to form fiberboard. Polyurethane sealants are used in road repair, plumbing, construction and anywhere else a high-strength, water-resistant seal is needed.

Polyurethane sealants provide excellent stress recovery to retain shape after being bent or pulled, fast curing rates and even adherence to non-primed concrete. Polyurethane adhesives and sealants can also be painted to match the surrounding surfaces, while some bonding agents cannot be painted.

Polyurethane Elastomers

Polyurethane elastomers are rubber-like materials that can be created with a wide variety of properties and molded into almost any shape. Depending on the intended use, polyurethane elastomers can provide resistance to:

  • abrasion
  • impact and shock
  • temperature
  • cuts and tears
  • oil and solvents
  • aging
  • mold, mildew and fungus

The low weight of elastomers and their machinability, make elastomers a great choice for dozens of applications. Plus, polyurethane elastomers easily return to their original shape after stressed (i.e., compressed, bent or stretched).

Polyurethane elastomers can be used virtually everywhere. Snowplow blades are made with polyurethane to reduce road damage caused by metal scraping the roads. Wheels for shopping carts, skateboards, roller coasters, and heavy trash containers are all produced from polyurethane, due to its high load-bearing capacity and abrasion resistance. And since polyurethane elastomers can be so easily machined, they can be molded and processed for custom uses such as valves, snowblower augers, balls, and factory fixtures.

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