Your partner in precision urethane-based technology from prototype to production.

Your partner in precision urethane-based technology from prototype to production.

MPC  Polyurethane Knowledge Center

Polyester vs. Polyether?

Polyurethanes come in many forms, including polyester and polyether. These versatile materials can be formulated to offer a wide range of physical properties, making thermoset polyurethanes a great option for many applications. Choosing the right type of polyurethane starts with understanding how the material's chemical composition can affect your product's performance and durability. So, which one do you choose? Below is a comparison of both ester and ether polyurethanes along with information to help you make important material decisions in product design.

Back to Polyurethane Basics

Polyurethanes are formed through a chemical reaction between a polyol and isocyanate. Generally, thermoset polyurethanes can be composed of TDI or MDI backbones, with ester or ether chemical bonds. Ester polyurethanes include two oxygen atoms and two carbon atoms to complete its chemical structure, while, ether polyurethanes includes only one oxygen and two carbon atoms. Each combination of backbones and chemical bonds will display different physical properties in the resulting material. For more information about thermoset polyurethanes and how they compare to thermoplastics, click here.

Difference Between Ester and Ether Polyurethanes

The physical properties and environmental conditions in an application will dictate the right material for a product. Polyester and polyether polyurethanes offer similar durometer ranges, however, they differ in many other properties. As an example, the table below includes physical properties in which each type of polyurethane performs better:  

     Polyester Polyurethanes     

     Polyether Polyurethanes     

  • UV & wear resistant
  • Less prone to heat build-up 
  • Higher rebound
  • Shock absorption 
  • Higher tensile & tear strength 
  • Mold resistant

Designing with Ester and Ether Polyurethanes

Ester and ether polyurethanes display many differences in physical properties that can make or break your product's performance. For example, ethers tend to perform best in below freezing conditions, while esters can withstand higher temperatures longer. When designing with thermoset polyurethanes, it is critical to share details of the application, environment, and chemicals your product & component will experience, along with the necessary physical properties, with your manufacturing partner.


Polyurethanes offer a diverse set of physical properties, both esters and ethers. Selecting the right material can sometimes be overwhelming. During the material selection process be sure to share details of your application and requirements with your polyurethane material experts and manufacturing partners.  To learn about MPC's unique ester and ether formulations, along with key physical properties, make sure to download our Durethane® data sheets.  

Download Our Durethane Material Data Sheets

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