Best Uses of Urethane for the Maritime Industry

The applications for urethane products have grown significantly over the years and urethane can be found in many different sectors including the maritime industry. Marine environments are harsh and materials used in these maritime applications are vulnerable to chemical, physical, and biological deterioration. These factors make material selection a critical decision that directly correlates to the effectiveness and longevity of marine products.

Materials used in the maritime industry are repeatedly exposed to a mixture of sun, wind, waves, and currents that lead to stresses and fatigue that are unique to this sector. Additionally, seawater is a complex solution of inorganic, organic, and biological components – all of which can cause corrosion and material degradation over time. Marine environments are severe and demand materials that can withstand the unforgiving conditions. Fortunately, urethane is up for the challenge.

Why Choose Urethane for Maritime Applications?

Urethane usage for maritime and underwater applications is growing rapidly due to its desirable properties. Polyurethane products deliver important advantages over conventional elastomers and plastics, and below are several of the benefits of employing urethane parts in marine environments.

  • Superior Abrasion Resistance: urethane components are able to withstand abrasive conditions and corrosive environments like seawater, prolonging the part life and setting urethane apart from other material options. In marine applications, cast urethane parts can be used in combination with stainless steel to prevent the core from abrading or marring. Additionally, urethane offers a wide range of operating temperatures and can be placed in humid or tropical locations, resulting in a broad range of geographical maritime opportunities.
  • Excellent Strength and Durability: urethane exhibits superb tensile strength and load bearing capabilities, allowing it to withstand more stress than many other materials. Urethane parts are abrasion and impact resistant, and offer great vibration and shock absorbing properties, which are necessary for applications like power plants, engine rooms and other maritime operations facilities.
  • Outstanding Resistance to Contaminants: urethane parts are resistant to salt water and water absorption. In offshore applications, urethane elastomers are the chosen material due to its resistance to hydrolysis and microbial attack, as well as reliable performance at low ocean temperatures and high pressure in deep water. Additionally, urethane components provide good UV stabilization and do not oxidize even after long exposure to water and harsh environments.
  • Improved Reliability: urethane delivers a better value than parts made with other materials that often crack, break, tear, swell, deteriorate, and abrade. This is especially important in the maritime industry where equipment must be highly reliable, and vessels and facilities must remain operational.
  • Readily Customizable: urethane is non-marking and very easily customized. Urethanes can be manufactured to a variety of customer-specific specs including color, size, formula, and durometer just to name a few.

Best Uses of Urethane for the Maritime Industry

There are many types of maritime vessels that utilize urethane parts including motor and sail yachts and US Navy and Coast Guard vessels as well as smaller boats. Additionally, urethane products can be found in offshore construction equipment and waste water treatment facilities.

Below are some of the best uses of urethane for the maritime industry. In addition to the uses below, urethane elastomers can be used to reduce strain on pipes and cables by flexing in the marine environment, and are suitable for encapsulating electrical components, and for protecting pipes and cables.

  • Rollers: there are two main urethane rollers for marine usage: aquatic poly rollers and V-rollers. The aquatic poly rollers are used to pull boats out of the water. V-rollers for boat trailers are used to guide the vessel into the water for a quicker and easier launch.
  • Impellers: urethane impellers are found in a variety of marine applications such as pumps, compressors, and tanks. Polyurethane is the preferred material for many impeller applications, especially highly abrasive and wear intensive applications.
  • Rings and Gaskets: polyurethane gaskets are a great option for high-stress, high-load applications. Urethane rings are used as seals, spacers, bushings, vibration isolators and other applications, and are known for their strength, elasticity, and compression deflection. At PSI, we have custom formulations in a variety of durometers ranging from “dead” for shock absorbing and “rebound” for repeated flexing.
  • Urethane Liners: these products offer long-lasting protection in a harsh marine environment and can be found in pump housings and tanks among other uses. In addition to abrasion resistance, urethane is chemical resistant and can be bonded to metal to provide additional stiffness. With urethane liners, the dirt or sludge rolls off easily.
  • Other: some additional marine uses of urethane include dampers and shock absorbers, dock bump stops, and polyurethane roller cradles.

PSI – Your Trusted Partner for Maritime Applications

PSI Urethanes is a leading manufacturer of cast and molded urethane for the marine and maritime industry. Whether you are re-covering existing parts or have a custom urethane project, our experts will help you determine the right durometer (hardness) and specifications for your needs. As the leading manufacturer of marine cast urethane parts, you can count on PSI Urethanes to deliver exactly what you need.

With over 50 years of experience delivering the highest quality urethane products, PSI Urethanes stands unequaled in helping companies in hundreds of industries around the world apply urethane products to their critical business applications. Since 1966, through our own independent research and activity in the Polyurethane Manufacturers Association, PSI Urethanes has stayed on the leading edge of urethane technology – including developing advances in new materials, comprehensive designs, and processing technologies. Today we are among the most respected and trusted suppliers of custom cast urethane products.

Contact us today to see how we can help with your next marine project, or give us a call at 1-800-888-5156.