By Mary Bellis
Polyurethane is an organic polymer.
"Polyurethanes are formed by reacting a polyol (an alcohol with more than two reactive hydroxyl groups per molecule) with a diisocyanate or a polymeric isocyanate in the presence of suitable catalysts and additives." - Alliance of The Polyurethane Industry
Polyurethanes are best known to the public in the form of flexible foams: upholstery, mattresses, earplugs, chemical-resistant coatings, specialty adhesives and sealants, and packaging. It also comes to the rigid forms of insulation for buildings, water heaters, refrigerated transport, and commercial and residential refrigeration.
Otto Bayer and co-workers discovered and patented the chemistry of polyurethanes in 1937.
From Polyurethanes Business Gorup
- Bayer Industries
Website Article: "1937 to 1949 - Invention, Research and Development"
Otto Bayer (1902 - 1982) develops the novel polyisocyanate-polyaddition process. The basic idea which he documents from March 26 1937 relates to spinnable products made of hexane-1,6-diisocyanate (HDI) and hexa-1,6-diamine (HDA). Publication of German Patent DRP 728981 on November 13 1937: "A process for the production of polyurethanes and polyureas". The team of inventors consisted of: Otto Bayer, Werner Siefken, Heinrich Rinke, L... Orthner and H... Schild.
Right from the start, trade names were given to polyurethane products. Igamid® for plastics materials, Perlon® for fibers.