Science and Research on Polyurethanes


Polyurethanes are plastic polymers made by combining diisocyanates (TDI and MDI) and polyols. There are literally hundreds of different types of polyurethanes and each is made in a slightly different way:

  • Carbon dioxide is used as a blowing agent to create the soft, comfortable feel of a mattress or sofa. The more blowing agent is used, the softer the resulting foam.
  • In rigid foams, a gas such as pentane is "trapped" in the closed cells of the foam, optimising its insulation capacity.
  • Rollerblade wheels, on the other hand, do not require a blowing agent and instead have a dense and hardwearing consistency.

Because polyurethanes are so versatile and known to be excellent insulators, they offer many solutions to the challenges of energy conservation and eco-design. The polyurethanes industry is always seeking to reduce its impact on the environment and is currently exploring ways of increasing the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes and creating end products that can be used to save energy, such as building insulation. These products help families and businesses reduce their energy bills, while at the same time helping to protect the environment. The future is likely to bring further improvements in production processes, resulting in less expensive and even more environmentally friendly polyurethanes.