Polyurethane is the best mix of the properties of plastic and rubber. Many vinyl films are weak, but polyurethane is one of the strongest plastic materials in the industry. The reason that urethane sheets are stronger than vinyl films is because urethane does not contain plasticizers and do not have the brittleness that other plastics have.
Urethane sheets have many properties that other thermoplastic materials do not have. Urethane can have a durometer between Shore A 75 and Shore D 55. The plastic can either become incredibly stiff and hard or thin and soft without the typical feel of plastic. The soft use is particularly beneficial for use near the skin. Urethane also has a low temperature flexibility, which means it will not become brittle, even in temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The tensile strength ranges from 4,000 to 10,000 PSI depending on the additives in the mixture. Urethane sheets can be stretched up to 800 percent and return to its original size without memory loss.
Urethane is also incredibly abrasion-resistant, and can be used as conveyors, elevator cable protectors, floor padding, and much more. Urethane is also resistant to chemicals and leeching, and it can withstand bacteria, fungus growth, chemicals, oils, moisture, and a whole lot more. These properties are ideal for uses in harsh industrial environments.
Urethane sheets are truly as flexible and varied as the industries that use them.
Urethane sheets, technically referred to as polyurethane (or PU) sheets, are durable, long-lasting sheets that are constructed from an elastic polymer, or elastomer, containing urethane carbamate links. Valued primarily as rigid and flexible memory foam sheets, polyurethane sheets are extremely useful in solid plastic form as well.
Urethane sheets can be manufactured in different sizes, colors harnesses and thicknesses, with standard thicknesses ranging from .031" to 1". Different types of urethane sheets include urethane films, thermoset urethane sheets and urethane sheet adhesive compounds. Urethane sheets combine many of the desirable qualities of plastic, rubber and metal with longer service life than plastics, higher impact resistance than rubber, elastic memory, noise reduction, heat and chemical resistance, and many other properties. This combination of "the best of the best" outperforms metal, rubber and plastic sheets in many applications. Additional benefits of urethane sheeting includes higher abrasion, cut, tear, oil, ozone and radiation resistance, greater load bearing ability, broader hardness range and excellent colorability. As a result, urethane sheets are commonly used as liners or pads in industries such as dunnage, transportation, airline, salt mining, steel service, residential and industrial manufacturing. Other urethane sheet applications include conveyor belting, prototyping, gasket materials, metal forming and bulk material handling.The raw materials of polyurethane exist in a liquid state, which allows for easy mixing and measuring in preparation for sheet extrusion or thermosetting. Urethane sheet extrusion is the most common method, where granulated solid urethane is poured into a hopper, a funnel-shaped receptacle, and transferred to a heater, consisting of a screw and barrel which plasticize the urethane granules while pushing the amorphous material out through a die. Once fed through the die, the urethane is pulled through cooling rolls and shaped by calendar rolls, machines that smooth and stretch the urethane into sheets through rollers. Thermosetting is a less common method in which energy or catalysts are added to molecular chains and cause them to react at chemically active sites, cross-linking the urethane molecules into a rigid, 3-D structure. The cross-linking process forms a molecule with a larger molecular weight, resulting in a urethane with a higher melting point. During the reaction, the molecular weight has increased to a point so that the melting point is higher than the surrounding ambient temperature, then the urethane sheet is formed. Some characteristics of the newly formed urethane sheets include resistance to extreme environments and noise reduction capabilities that the residential industry uses for soundproof household insulation. In addition, the cost of urethane extrusion and thermosetting is on par with the cost of rubber and typical polymer molding, giving urethane sheets an economic advantage as well.
Urethane Sheets - Gallagher Corporation