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Business & Strategy

Polyurea Coatings in the Automotive Industry

Polyurea is a kind of synthetic elastomer which is produced by chemical synthesis step-by-step through a isocyanate-producing polymerizer. The polyurea is generally polar soluble in water, however, in certain case, it may tend to be soluble in organic solvents. Polyurea is also produced through non-enzymatic catalysis, i.e., the reactions between certain sugars and amino acids. Polyurea has the particular characteristic to release the moisture in its solid form, through a process called “thermodynamic” (which also produces some useful drugs). This thermo-plastic polyurea was first discovered in the 1970’s, and since then, it has been extensively used as a lubricant for a number of different applications.

polyurea

One of the most popular uses of polyurea in the concrete industry is its abilities to provide various concrete finishes, such as glossy, rough textured, high gloss, and low gloss. The polyurea market is particularly large in Europe, where concrete is used for a wide range of public structures including buildings, tunnels, bridges, roads, parking lots, industrial buildings, and even residential homes. One of the main reasons why polyurea has become so popular is its extensive ability to provide durable moisture resistance, along with the durability to resist wear and tear, and to be flexible under various conditions. Along with these properties, the polyurea market has also seen a lot of development over the years, resulting in a diverse selection of products that are suited to specific requirements.

One very important application of polyurea coatings in the concrete industry is the anti-corrosion and anti-grime properties. As mentioned above, polyurea sealants have the special characteristic to release the moisture in its solid form, through a process known as capillary action. In addition, they have exceptional chemical and physical properties that make them highly resistant to various corrosion solutions, which include chlorine, salt, iron, sulphur, boron, manganese, aluminum, and nickel. It is this very wide range of applications and protective coatings available that has led to an increase in the number of installations using polyurea, and it is also used in the manufacturing of the popular Teflon coated concrete flooring. Polyurea coatings have also been found to be highly beneficial in the areas of temperature control and condensation control, where other sealing techniques have proven ineffective.

Polyurea is made from a combination of isocyanates and polymers. The most commonly used isocyanates are form of carbon compounds known as C-Epside and C-Methacrylate. The combination of these two forms produce the important polyurea compounds named polyureas, polyurean, and polyureas oxide. Typically there are two different reaction products produced by the reaction between the two isocyanates: C-Epside bonds with oxygen in water, forming C-Epside bonds with any number of organic molecules and allowing them to diffuse into the adjacent layers of concrete to create the desired thickness, width, and other characteristics. C-Methacrylate bonds with other organic molecules and polymerizes with the isocyanates, forming the major component of polyurea coatings.

Polyurethane is used for many applications in both industrial and household applications. Some common uses in the industrial environment are as protection for concrete against abrasions due to heavy equipment or vehicle driving, as coating for pipelines or shafts to reduce the incidence of line fatigue and corrosion, and as lining or fillers in oil and gas systems to improve flotation efficiency and decrease surface wear and tear. There are also a wide variety of uses in household applications including flooring and wall coverings, furniture upholstery, baseboards, insulating material, and air conditioning ductwork and filters. While polyurethane is highly durable, it is not resistant to abrasion and is not an appropriate material for applications where penetration is necessary. The material will scratch and chip if forced to penetrate an area and should not be used as base material for reinforced concrete or other structures.

There are three major benefits of polyurea coatings that contribute to its widespread use in the automotive industry. First, polyurea coatings offer extremely high levels of impact resistance to reduce the frequency and amount of repair needed due to damage from impacts and driving traffic. This feature reduces the overall cost of repairing a vehicle and extends its life. Second, polyurea coatings provide excellent chemical and physical resistance to abrasion and chemical attack from cleaners and floor waxes. Lastly, polyurea coatings are flame retardant and have a low odor to provide a safe working environment.

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