- Flexible polyurethane foam is used in cushioning for furniture, footwear, cars, mattresses and other applications.
- Rigid polyurethane foam is used to make several types of insulation found in buildings, appliances, cars and other equipment.
- Other forms of polyurethane, such as coatings, adhesives and sealants, are used in building and construction, industrial and commercial coating applications, as well as a variety of automotive applications.
Diisocyanates are a family of chemical building blocks used to make a wide range of polyurethane products. The most widely used aromatic diisocyanates are toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI). Less widely used, but still important, are the aliphatic diisocyanates, including hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI), hydrogenated MDI (H12MDI), and isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI).
- TDI is mainly used to make flexible polyurethane foam that can be found in a wide range of everyday products, including furniture, bedding, carpet underlay and packaging. TDI is also used in the manufacture of some coatings, sealants, adhesives and elastomers. TDI helps produce lighter automobile seating and headliners, saving weight and making vehicles more energy efficient.
- MDI is used primarily to make rigid polyurethane foams such as insulation for your home or refrigerator, and many other uses. Insulation made with MDI can help save heating and cooling costs and conserve energy. Vehicle parts like dashboards, steering wheels and bumpers are also made of MDI.
- HDI, H12MDI and IPDI are most often further reacted to form polyisocyanates, or pre-polymers, which act as building blocks to form color-stable polyurethane coatings and elastomers, that can significantly enhance a product’s appearance, lengthen its lifespan and offer high abrasion resistance. Chemical-resistant coatings made with aliphatic diisocyanates help commercial airliners maintain the durability and resistance needed to withstand harsh atmospheric conditions. Coatings prepared with aliphatic diisocyanates can have excellent resistance to abrasion, as well as superior weathering characteristics, including gloss retention and resistance to yellowing and chalking, as well as lengthening the time between painting cycles.