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The History Of Polyurethane

The History Of Polyurethane

From 1800 to the 2nd world war

Prof Dr. Otto Bayer is recognized and the “father” of the polyurethanes industry for his invention of the basic process of this plastic material.

The origin of polyurethane dates back to the beginning of World War I, when it 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 gas resistant garments, high-gloss airplane finishes and chemical and corrosion resistant coatings to protect metal, wood and masonry.


By the end of the second world war until today

By the end of the war, polyurethane coatings were being manufactured and used on an industrial scale and could be custom formulated for specific applications.

By the mid-50’s, polyurethanes could be found in coatings and adhesives, elastomers and rigid foams. It was not until the late-50’s that comfortable cushioning flexible foams were commercially available.

With the development of a low-cost polyether polyol, flexible foams opened the door to the upholstery automotive applications we know today. Formulations, additives and processing techniques continue to be developed, such as reinforced and structural moldings for exterior automotive parts and one-component systems.

Today, polyurethane can be found in virtually everything we touch: desks, chairs, cars, clothes, footwear, appliances, beds as well as the insulation in our walls and roof and moldings on our homes.


Polyurethane is one of the most versatile plastic materials and allows it to obtain a various types of products with isolating and wear resistant features.

The nature of the chemistry allow polyurethane to be adapted to solve challenging problems, to be molded into unusual shapes and to enhance industrial and consumer products by adding comfort, warmth and convenience to our lives. Polyurethane is formed by reacting a polyol (an alcohol with more than two reactive hydroxyl groups per molecule) with a diisocyanate or a polymeric isocyanata in the presence of suitable catalysts and additives.

The polyurethanes industry is constantly looking for new ways to reduce their impact on the environment. Among the latest trends in the field of applications there is the creation of panels and insulating coatings in order to improve the energy savings. We use polyurethane daily because it is a particularly versatile and safe material. A testament to its versatility, the polyurethanes is used to create roofs, coatings and harness for any type of equipment or industrial instrument.

The polyurethane due to its physical structure guarantees a longer life to each instrument and protects the vital parts.