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What's So Special about Polyurea? Do You Know?

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If you do a quick internet search, you’ll find polyurea referred to as everything from special to magical. All things considered, both are accurate statements. In fact, at Marvel Coatings, we may have dropped both words when referring to the benefits of using polyurea coatings.

First, the back story. Before we even get into the advantages of polyurea, it’s helpful to understand its origins. Truth be told, there are a couple of variations regarding its discovery. Before there was polyurea, there was polyurethane – first introduced in 1937.

According to a respected journal article, Otto Bayer is regarded as the father of polyurethane. He determined that existing plastics could be enhanced by olefin polymerization to create new polymers. The results were incredible.

By now, you might be thinking this is all either Greek or Latin to you as far as the terms. You’d be right – poly’s root means “many” in Greek.  And, if you look up a dictionary definition of polymer, you’ll find that it refers to “a chemical compound or mixture of compounds formed by polymerization and consisting essentially of repeating structural units.”

Meanwhile, the definition of polyurethane is even more expansive. The chemical process makes for more “flexible and rigid foams, elastomers, and resins.” You might even be surprised to learn that polyurethane may be part of your living room furniture, your bedding or even your household carpeting. The fact that it is flexible is a definite plus.

Enter Polyurea

So, if polyurethane is such a great product, why was polyurea developed? When it comes to patenting polyurea, it became part of a patent associated with polyurethane in 1959. At that time, it was founded in conjunction with “creating an article with a protected edge coat by spray applying polyurea/polyurethane to wood substrates” was quite efficient. Therefore, its application was ideal for protecting table edges. (As an aside, the combination of the two substances also contributed to the finding of spandex – which takes advantage of elastomer qualities.)

In the meantime, at least one source claims that polyurea really came into play during the early 1980s. It had many of the same properties as polyurethane – with a major additional benefit. Polyurea reacts differently to moisture. In fact, it is moisture-sensitive. We won’t bore you with the science of the new invention – suffice it to say that it has proven extremely helpful in waterproofing and surface protection.

Polyurea has made its way into many industries for a variety of applications. Once again – special and magical just begin to describe its benefits. Put simply, they include the following:

  • Elastomer qualities resulting in flexibility and adaptability

  • Ability to create tensile strength that offers protection

  • Creation of moisture and water barriers

  • Adheres to just about every surface – concrete, wood, and metals

  • Withstands temperature and humidity

When it comes down to it, polyurea may be the solution to increasing the lifespan of a number of infrastructures, flooring and even everyday products.

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Interested in learning more about how polyurea can help you?  Contact our technical team to review your application needs. At Marvel Coatings, we are happy to answer all questions.