History of Polyurethane
-First developed by Dr. Otto Bayer in 1937 at the I.G. Farben Laboratories, a subdivision of Bayer Corporation, in Leverkusen, Germany.
-Realized they could create new materials with special characteristics by applying the principle of polyaddition to liquid diisocyanates and existing polyester and polyether diols.
-Part of a larger governement sponsored scientific and technological movement during WWII to create cheap, mass-producable synthetic plastics and rubbers.
-The origin of polyurethane dates back to the beginning of World War II where it is was first developed as a replacement for rubber. The versatility of this new organic polymer and its ability to substitute for scarce materials, spurred numerous applications. During World War II, polyurethane coatings were used for the impregnation of paper and the manufacture of mustard gas resistant garments, high-gloss airplane finishes and chemical and corrosion resistant coatings to protect metal, wood and masonry.
-First commercially available polyurethane was introduced by DuPont Corporation in 1948, material was a rigid foam used in insulation.
-Dow Chemical, BASF, and Mobay Corporation in the following year, 1949, introduced synthetic rubber, polyurethane materials.
-Over the 1960s, through the addition of various additives, chemists were able to develop more flexibile foam polyurethanes, as well as more rigid, hard plastics.
-First all plastic car (made from polyurethanes..!) introduced in 1969 by Bayer AG Corporation in Dusseldorf, Germany.
-Pontiac introduced the first all plastic car in the United States in 1983 using PU materials.
-Increasing use over the 1980s as rising energy costs made it desirable to decrease use of PVC, one of the most common synthetic building materials in the world.
-Development in the 1990s focused on Polyurethane’s potential as a spray sealant. Polyurethane sealants are desriable because of their cheap, easy application, fast drying time, ability to bind to concrete and steel surfaces, and their impermeability.
-Beginning in the early 2000s, industry efforts to become more environmentally friendly created polyurethanes made from vegetable oil polyols, most notably a soy-based polyurethane used by Ford Motor Company in recent automobile interiors (dashboards, side-panels, etc.).
Timeline of Polyurethane Applications
Dr. Otto Bayer discovers the basic polyurethane chemistry. I.G. Farben (Bayer) patents the process
Rigid foam first introduced for aircraft
Adhesive between rubber, metal and glass
First insulation application – a beer barrel
Vulcanized rollable polyurethane rubber
Shoe soles – Synthetic leather
Introduction of Spandex fiber
Steel sandwich building panels
Integral skin for armrests and shoe soles
Orthopedics and medical applications
Spray building insulation
Energy absorbing foams for passenger safety
Thin wall medical hoses i.e. catheters