Technology

What is Polyurethane (PU)? 

Polyurethane (PU) is an important group of products within the big family of polymers or plastics. PU is a generic name for a wide range of foam types. 

Polyurethanes can be found in almost every aspect of life. In vehicle seats, as thermal and sound insulation in buildings, in coolers, paints and other protective coatings, shoes, textiles, adhesives, in the upholstery of chairs, and in mattress cores. Since polyurethane foams are usually combined with other materials, such as textiles, metals, wood and other plastics, they are rarely to found in finished products.

Polyurethanes are generally considered to be the most versatile among plastics, because of the variety of properties they possess. They are foam materials that can be manufactured at varying degrees of density and softness, depending on the initial raw material, they can be hard or soft, elastic or rigid. Structurally speaking, PU is a system of dodecahedron shaped cells that behave like micro-springs. 

How is Polyurethane (PU) foam produced? 

The petrochemical industry refines 95% of the crude oil it processes into fuels (naphtha and allied products). A wide variety of other chemicals can be distilled in one or more stages from the remaining 5%, including polyhydroxy compounds and isocyanates, the main raw materials used in the production of polyurethane. 

To produce foam, specific quantities of different raw materials and auxiliary agents, primarily isocyanate and polyol, are pumped through separate piping systems to a mixing head. All the components are blended here using a high-speed stirrer, and then evenly spread onto paper sheets of varying thicknesses.

A computer monitors each blend to ensure consistently high quality and to enable changes to the blend or color during the foaming process. The slabstock width can also be modified.

The PU manufacturer makes different foam qualities of varying densities and degrees of hardness depending on the type and composition of the raw materials. This tremendous versatility means a number of unique foams can be created that precisely match the specifications of each end product.

After the foam has sufficiently cured, the PU flexible foam slabstocks are removed from storage and converted as required.

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AUSTRIA

 

Phone: +43 (0) 1 / 602 21 54 0 

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Email: office(at)eurofoam.eu