What Makes Polyurethane the Best Material for Shock Absorption

Shock Absorbers Explained

Shock absorbers are used to dampen or absorb the force of high impacts between two objects. They can commonly be found in automotive, manufacturing, and robotics applications where two moving parts are designed to collide with one another. By absorbing and redistributing the force of impact, or “shock”, shock absorbers can significantly extend the life of parts and systems where repeated impingement is to be expected.

To function properly, a shock absorber must effectively dissipate energy away from the site of impact. This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the application. In some cases, a metal spring may be used as a shock absorber between two parts, while other times a rubber gasket might be more suitable.

In each case, the material of choice may have its shortcomings. Metal, for example, is subject to mar, scrape, and otherwise damage other components after repeated abrasion. On the other hand, rubber performs poorly after extended exposure to chemicals, solvents, and UV rays, often rotting away as time goes on.

shock absorber

Not to spoil the rest of the article- but polyurethane is the best material for shock absorption.

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Properties of Urethane Shock Absorbers

Urethane shock absorbers are different. Unlike your typical shock absorbing materials, there are many desirable properties that make polyurethane the best material for shock absorption.

Bonded Urethane Shock Absorbers Provide Added Protection

While shock absorbers made of other materials may get dislodged after repeated impacts, urethanes hold a unique advantage. Polyurethane parts of all kinds can be bonded directly to components of different materials. In this case, a bonded urethane shock absorber ensures that the impacted parts remain protected without any risk of displacement.

Urethane Shock Absorbers Exhibit Great Chemical Resistance

Polyurethanes are known for their excellent resistance to common chemicals, and urethane shock absorbers are no exception to that. Urethane shock absorbers are great for automotive, aerospace, and hydraulic applications due to their resistance to oils, solvents, and fumes.

Non-Magnetic Urethane Shock Absorbers Outclass Metals

In applications that call for a non-magnetic material, urethane shock absorbers are an excellent fit. Where magnetic metal parts won’t do, urethanes can deliver superior performance.

Urethane Shock Absorbers Rebound to Resist Deformation

If a metal shock absorber is bent out of shape, it will never function the same way it once did. A rubber shock absorber may rebound well from high impacts shortly after install, but it doesn’t take very long for it to lose its bounce. In contrast, urethane shock absorbers exhibit excellent rebound. Even when subjected to extreme impacts, they will keep on bouncing back. Repeated impacts are no problem either, as urethane shock absorbers don’t lose their rebound quickly like rubber parts do.

Non-Marring Urethane Shock Absorbers Keep Things Clean

Urethane shock absorbers are non-marring, meaning that they won’t leave marks or trace amounts of material even after being subjected to high impacts. Rubber is known to contaminate other materials, and metals can leave scrapes and scratches; a urethane shock absorber can help keep things clean.

Urethane Shock Absorbers Are Long-Lasting

As a result of the other properties that urethanes exhibit, including great resistance to chemicals and high impacts, urethane shock absorbers are bound to outlast shock absorbers made of other materials.

Urethane Shock Absorbers Are Customizable

The most distinct advantage of urethane shock absorbers by far has to be their high degree of customization. Here at PSI Urethanes we can develop custom formulations to suit any application- and of course that includes urethane shock absorbers. Depending on the level of shock that the part will have to dissipate, we can formulate a soft or hard durometer part. We can also produce urethane sheeting to be and cast custom shapes for urethane shock absorbers to suit your most basic or most niche applications.

PSI Urethanes can deliver custom urethane shock absorbers to meet your most unique project requirements.

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Industries that Use Urethane Shock Absorbers

With such versatility in formulation potential, our urethane shock absorbers can find use across many different industries.

Urethane Shock Absorbers in the Automotive Industry

Urethane’s chemical resistance and non-marring properties make it the best choice for shock absorption in the automotive industry. Metal shock absorbers can potentially damage other costly parts and components, while rubber shock absorbers can’t stand up to the high heat and exposure to oils the same way that urethane shock absorbers can.

Aerospace Applications for Urethane Shock Absorbers

Urethane shock absorbers are more lightweight and cost effective than their metal counterparts, and more reliable in high and low temperatures than their rubber counterparts. This makes polyurethane the best material for shock absorption in aerospace applications.

Urethane Shock Absorbers in Metal Forming & Manufacturing

Metal forming is a very demanding industry for shock absorbers. High heat, forceful shock, and exposure to oils and solvents are all just part of the daily grind in manufacturing. With such extreme conditions, failure is not an option for manufacturing personnel- anything that doesn’t perform as planned poses a risk to their safety. For that reason, urethane shock absorbers are a no-brainer for applications in press brakes, metal stamping, hydraulic presses, milling machines, and more.

Urethane Shock Absorbers in Process Automation

As we briefly touched on before, urethane shock absorbers have a place in robotics too. In fact, effective shock absorbers are crucial to automated machine motion. Most robotics don’t contain abrasive chemicals or produce particularly extreme temperatures, but it is important to consider the metallic and electronic components that make up most robots. In this case, urethane’s non-magnetic property makes it the best material for shock absorption in robotics and process automation.

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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.