Determine Urethane Compatibility with This Handy Guide

chemical liquid

Determine Urethane Compatibility

chemical liquid

Urethane is a versatile material that is used in a variety of industries, from automotive to construction. One of the biggest advantages of selecting polyurethane parts is that urethane formulations can be customized to suit nearly any industry application.

While polyurethane is a material well-known for its excellent resistance to physical wear, what really sets urethanes apart from other elastomers and even some metals is its incredible chemical resistance.

Where other materials cannot withstand prolonged or repeated exposure to solvents, oils, saltwater, and other chemically harsh substances, urethanes offer a distinct advantage with their diverse range of chemical compatibility thanks to the adaptability allowed by custom urethane formulations.

In this article, we will discuss the compatibility of urethane with abrasive chemicals and how PSI ensures the best performance from our urethane products. At the end you can find a link to our comprehensive guide for urethane compatibility with every chemical that’s been tested by PSI Urethanes to this day.

Understanding Urethane Compatibility

In a general sense, polyurethane’s molecular structure and cross-linking bonds are significant contributing factors to its chemical resistance. Urethane is composed of repeating units of urethane links, which form a strong and durable polymer network. This network structure provides resistance against the degrading effects of abrasive chemicals.

However, not all urethanes are made equal.

What Factors Affect Urethane Compatibility?

When it comes to compatibility with abrasive chemicals, there are several factors that can affect the performance of urethane. The chemical resistance of urethane is influenced by factors such as the type of urethane used, concentration, and temperature of the abrasive chemical.

Different types of urethanes, such as polyester and polyether urethanes, have varying levels of resistance to different chemicals as a result of their differing properties. It is important to select a urethane which is compatible with the specific abrasive chemical being used. Urethane compatibility with specific chemicals can be fine-tuned with custom formulations such as those available here at PSI Urethanes. Our urethanes are carefully formulated to suit the exact application as outlined by each of our customers.

Another important consideration to make with custom urethane formulations is the intended concentration and temperature of the abrasive chemical that it will come into contact with. Higher concentrations and temperatures can have a more significant impact on the performance of urethane. It is crucial to provide information outlining the intended use and chemical exposure of your cast urethane parts to ensure a proper formulation for performance and longevity.

PSI Urethanes has a library of custom urethane formulations ready for your toughest applications.

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How Is Urethane Compatibility Tested?

Urethane compatibility with abrasive chemicals is typically tested using a method called immersion testing. In this process, a sample of the urethane material is exposed to the chemical of interest for a specific period of time. After the exposure period is complete, the material is removed from the chemical and evaluated for any changes in its physical properties.

When evaluating the results of immersion testing, the type, concentration, and temperature of the chemical being tested should be taken into account. Understanding the specific characteristics of the chemical is important to ensure an accurate compatibility assessment. It is also important to consider the duration of the chemical exposure.

As an example, our urethane compatibility tests are always conducted at 100% concentration of the test chemical and performed in a controlled environment where a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit is maintained. We do this to evaluate the performance of our urethane formulations when exposed to the harshest possible chemicals without the outside influence of factors like extreme temperatures.

Some properties that are evaluated after an immersion test include swelling, degradation, discoloration, and curling of the polyurethane sample.

By conducting thorough compatibility testing and taking into account the necessary precautions, manufacturers can ensure the longevity and effectiveness of urethane products in the presence of abrasive chemicals.

How Urethane Compatibility Is Graded

While immersion testing is largely accepted as the industry standard for urethane compatibility testing, there is not an equal standard when it comes to grading the test results. It is up to each urethane manufacturer to present their findings in a way that accurately reflects urethane compatibility with the tested chemicals.

At PSI Urethanes we grade our urethane compatibility on a letter scale. An A grade indicates that an immersion test resulted in little to no significant change in the urethane sample; a B grade indicates a minor to moderate change in the urethane sample; and a C grade indicates that the urethane sample had a severe reaction to the test chemical. Here is a selection of a few well-known chemicals from our table as an example:

How Urethane Compatibility is Graded

We put our urethanes are put to the ultimate test to make sure they’ll stand up to any application.

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How to Utilize Our Polyurethane Compatibility Chart

Our chemical compatibility guide is broken up into two sections: a polyurethane compatibility chart and a urethane resistance chart.

Urethane Compatibility

The urethane compatibility chart highlights how some of our custom urethane formulations perform with chemicals that typically result in significant wear of other materials. We have custom urethane formulations that have been engineered to perform well with common abrasive chemicals including hydraulic fluid, chlorine bleach, gasoline, and even sulfuric acid.

urethane compatibility

Urethane Resistance

The urethane resistance chart shows the results immersion tests where polyurethane samples are exposed to various chemicals. All results are believed to be based on valid laboratory/field tests or evaluations from past experience.

While our results are based on tests performed at 70°F with fully concentrated chemicals, we understand that it is important to consider how altering those factors in your unique application can affect urethane compatibility. Each of our formulations are customized to the indicated application, but our guide is intended to help give customers a very general understanding of how urethane can perform in their intended application.

Keep these considerations in mind as you review our urethane compatibility resources.

Through decades of material testing and innovative engineering, PSI Urethanes has developed the expertise to ensure the longevity of our urethane parts no matter the application.

Contact us today to get a quote for your urethane needs!

About PSI Urethanes

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 polyurethane products.

We operate from our 45,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, which houses an extensive stock of polyurethane products. Our fully equipped manufacturing facility includes a versatile range of processing machinery, which allows us to work on unique, one-of-a-kind projects, as well as high volume components. Our in-house engineering, tooling, and custom mold shop, produces custom and stock production orders with exceptionally fast turn-around times. From conception to prototyping, to final production runs, our technical representatives and design engineers will work closely with your staff to meet your critical tolerances and specifications. You are guaranteed to receive experienced, professional, and personalized service from the first contact through your on-time delivery, with complete confidentiality and dedication to protecting your good name.