This section provides an overview for polyurethane sponges as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 10 polyurethane sponge manufacturers and their company rankings.
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Polyurethane is a polymer containing urethane bonds, obtained by reacting polyisocyanate with polyol. When molded into a porous shape it is called polyurethane sponge. It can contain liquids for extended periods of time and can either absorb or release them.
Polyurethane sponge is characterized by its excellent thermal insulation properties and ease of molding, and can be divided into soft and hard types.
Originally made from processed sea sponges, they are now manufactured from polyurethane.
Soft sponges are soft and cushiony, and are used for sound absorbent materials, cushions, clothing, and furniture. Sponges are commonly known for their use in cleaning applications. Hard ones are rich in thermal insulation properties and are used as heat insulators and buoyancy agents. Semi-hard ones are characterized by high resilience and elasticity. They are used in furniture, bedding mattresses, and vehicle parts.
They are also used as filters and as a medium for growing bacteria.
The raw materials, polyisocyanate and polyol, form polymers by urethane bonding, and the type and additives are selected according to the purpose.
Polyurethane sponges are made by adding catalysts, blowing agents, foaming agents, flame retardants, etc. The reaction heat of the isocyanate and polyol vaporizes the foaming agent, forming small, independent bubbles one by one. By eliminating the film of bubbles, the foam becomes filmless, resulting in a sponge with excellent air permeability and drying properties.
Water is mainly used as the foaming agent for soft foam, and the carbon dioxide gas generated when water reacts with isocyanate is used for foaming. For rigid foams, HFC compounds are used, which are not ozone-depleting. Cyclopentane and other hydrocarbon-based foaming agents and carbon dioxide are also used.
The foam is continuously foamed to form large blocks, which can then be cut and formed, or injected into molds and formed as molded. Another method is to foam over paper or board and form it into a single bonded piece, which can be easily molded according to its intended purpose.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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