National Inventors Month: Otto Bayer and Polyurethane

February is National Inventors Month and today we wanted to look at the inventor of one of our most popular #PerformancePlastics at Plastifab: Polyurethane (PU).

Why is polyurethane plastic so popular? It’s because it routinely outperforms plastic, rubber, and steel in its ability to resist hard environmental factors. It’s no match against abrasion, heat, harsh solvents, oil, and acid. 

The inventor of this versatile plastic was Otto Bayer (1902-1982). He became known as the “Father of polyurethanes” for his invention of the basic diisocyanate polyaddition process. 

Polyurethane was first developed as a substitute for rubber in World War II and used in mustard gas resistant clothing, airplane finishes, and chemical- and corrosion-resistant coatings used to protect metal, wood, and masonry. 

Today, polyurethane has many every-day applications and can be found nearly anywhere you look including desks and chairs, clothing and footwear, appliances and furniture, and even in the construction of our homes. 

The key properties that make polyurethane include: 

  • high load bearing capacity
  • high abrasion and impact resistance
  • high tear resistance
  • resistance to water, oil and grease
  • good electrical insulating properties
  • very resistant to temperature extremes
  • resistance to mold, mildew, and fungus

If you’re wondering if polyurethane is the right plastic for your next part or application, contact us for a free consultation and quote.

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