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Polyurethane Chemical Resistance

In general, thermoset polyurethanes portray improved resistance to various chemicals when compared to most metals, plastics, and rubbers. In this post, we will break down chemical resistance, how it is tested, and how it can play a role in your product's design. 


What Is Chemical Resistance

Chemical resistance refers to a material's overall ability to withstand degradation when in the presence of chemicals. Most often, the presence of chemicals can result in a material's loss of physical and mechanical properties. For example, take the time you left your bike outdoors one to many times as a child and it began to oxidise from the presence of water. Due to the nature of the steel material and low resistance to chemicals, this resulted in a change in performance and appearance. 

How to Test for Chemical Resistance 

Testing methods for chemical resistance will vary depending on the materials and chemicals being tested. Although there is no standardized test, chemical resistance is typically rated by the materials ability to maintain its integrity when in the presence of chemicals. This process is often achieved by submerging material samples in the chemical while in a controlled environment for a period of time and testing for key physical properties, such as durometer or tear resistance, in prescribed time intervals.  

Polyurethane Chemical Resistance chartChemical Resistance of Various Materials  

Thermoset polyurethanes typically have a greater chemical resistance when compared to many metals, rubbers and plastics. In most cases, some metals and plastics tend to corrode quicker in extreme environments, whereas, rubbers can degrade in contact with oils. Unlike thermoplastics, thermoset polyurethanes can be engineered to have superior resistance to a wide range of chemicals without the need for additional surface treatments. To download a list of industry information regarding the resistance of thermoset polyurethanes to a wide range of chemicals, click here.

Designing with Chemical Resistance 

Chemical resistance starts when considering the environment in which your product or component will operate. Applications such as medical devices, military & defense, and food processing, will have a wide range of chemicals in contact with mechanical products or components. As a result, product designers should consider the ability of a products material to operate in that specific application. Although rubber, plastic, and metals are often used, thermoset polyurethanes may improve your product's resistance to chemicals while at the same time lowering maintenance costs.

To avoid future meltdowns, chemical resistance is a key physical property to consider in your product design. While the chemical resistance of various materials differ greatly, thermoset polyurethanes portray improved performance in the presence of chemicals. When exploring material options, make sure to ask about chemical resistance and/or download our data sheet as a resource.

Download Our Durethane Material Data Sheets

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