Difference Between Polyurethane and Urethane

Polyurethane vs Urethane

The words polyurethane and urethane are very confusing and people cannot make out differences between the two. Though there are many similarities and often the two are used for similar purposes, urethane and polyurethane are two different products having different properties and features. People often use the two words almost interchangeably, which is incorrect. This article will remove all doubts regarding differences between the two to enable people to choose one of the other for their requirements.

Urethanes and polyurethanes are chemicals that are used in the construction of products at different stages of production to improve the physical properties of the product and to make it better and more durable for use. Urethane is a type of carbonic acid made from crystalline ethyl ester. As a chemical, urethane is commonly used in the production of paints, solvents, pesticides and many pharmaceutical products. Polyurethane on the other hand is a polymer (PU), which people think of as urethane, and is commonly used in production of seals, gaskets, soles of shoes, flexible foams, tires, seats, adhesives, fibers and many types of plastics. Both found usage in thousands of products and earn millions of dollars of revenue every year. Have you ever wondered what is an egg foam tray made of? It is a urethane that keeps eggs safe during their transport from one place to another.

Urethane is a chemical compound derived from ethyl ester with a chemical formula of C3H7NO2. Polyurethane, as the name implies is formed by linking or joining many urethane units together. The chemical process of joining these units is called polymerization. While urethane is soft and flexible, polyurethane is rigid and firm. Urethane can take many shapes and forms and is found in liquid state whereas polyurethane is suitable for making hard products such as PU soles, gaskets and seals. As a product, polyurethane has many advantages over natural rubber. It is also used as a solvent in paints for a more durable coating. On the other hand, urethane is used in insecticides, pesticides and veterinary medicines.

Urethane is toxic for small animals like rats and cause allergic reactions to people if it is there in medicines. Polyurethane has lower toxicity. The basic purpose of urethanes and polyurethanes is to help make products that are stronger and more stable than their basic components.

Difference between Polyurethane and Urethane

• Urethane and polyurethane are substances that are widely used all over the world to make better and durable products.

• While urethane is flexible and soft, found in liquid form, polyurethane is used to make harder and firmer products that last longer

• Polyurethane, as the name implies results by linking many urethanes together through a process called polymerization.

• Urethane has high toxicity whereas polyurethanes have a low toxicity.