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Polyurethane for the Automotive Industry



Polyurethanes are used throughout your car—in familiar places like the foam that makes your car seats comfortable, as well as a few places you might not expect. Did you know that polyurethanes are used in the bumpers, the interior “headliner” ceiling section, the car body, its spoilers, and in all the doors and windows?

Polyurethanes can enables manufacturers to provide drivers and passengers more automobile “mileage” than just a few years ago through:

  • reduced weight and increased fuel economy
  • increased comfort
  • corrosion resistance
  • insulation
  • sound absorption

Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane foam offers automobile designers and manufacturers the means to produce seating that can be easily assembled, disassembled and recycled. It also meets the highest performance specifications over a wide range of firmness—without added weight.  Through many years of service, and even under heavy use, polyurethane foam retains its original firmness, shape and resiliency. Arm rests, head rests, cushioned instrument panels and other parts of your car’s interior are all made with polyurethane foams.

Reaction Injection-Molded Polyurethane

The automotive industry is the largest user of reaction injection-molded (RIM) polyurethane parts. RIM is used to maximize the shock absorption of a car’s fenders, bumpers and spoilers, without adding weight or bulk. Lightweight RIM polyurethanes can help give cars better gas mileage and allow engineers the freedom to create innovative designs that otherwise would never be possible.

Until recently, metal alloys were used for automobile exterior parts. However, these alloys are much more susceptible to dents, dings, stone chips, and corrosion than polyurethane versions.

The advantages of RIM polyurethane can also be found inside the car: steering wheels, air ducts, floor mats and seat bottoms.

Polyurethane Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants and Elastomers (CASE)

Polyurethane coatings provide a car’s exterior with the high gloss, durability, scratch resistance and corrosion resistance. Polyurethane coatings are also used to glaze windshields and windows, increasing strength and providing fog resistance.

Polyurethane sealants and adhesives are used in the production of headlights, signal lights and taillights, and are often used to bond bumpers onto the vehicle. The bond strength, durability, heat and ultraviolet resistance, combined with the ease of application, make polyurethane adhesives by far one of the best choices for these parts of your car.

Polyurethane elastomers are used to make water seals, o-rings, and puncture-resistant tire fill. The ease of molding these materials, combined with polyurethanes strength, durability and lightweight, make them ideal for use in all of these important areas.

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