Recent Knowledge Center articles have covered various aspects of Polyurethanes, including raw materials that are used to manufacture them, chemistry of the resins, and a discussion of their role in one-pack (1K) self-crosslinking chemistries. (See Reference links 1-5 below.)
Although coatings’ use of polyurethanes comprises a small part of the total market of the resin, they play an extremely important role in the protection of heavy industrial assets. Oil platforms, ships, floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units, chemical plants and many other applications could not be protected as effectively if not for the numerous types of urethane chemistries. Hence, a periodic review of the essential components and aspects is a good idea. In addition, this article affords the opportunity to demonstrate how to leverage the internet to develop a body of information.
Polyurethanes are the most versatile of all the polymers and can be made liquid, rigid, pliable and stretchable, and can be spread, sprayed or molded. Because a variety of diisocyanates and a wide range of polyols can be used to produce polyurethane, a broad spectrum of materials can be produced to meet the needs for specific applications.
|House & Home
|Transportation||Health & Safety
|Applications||-Oil & Gas
-Off-shore and Marine
In researching polyurethane trends from a regulatory standpoint, there is a high level of regulatory pressure to eliminate polyisocyanates totally due to their toxicity, reactivity and worker safety. About 15 percent are used in coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers (CASE) applications, with the rest in rigid and flexible foams. Other chemistries have been developed to eliminate the use of polyisocyanates.2
There are several methods to use to monitor developments in emerging technology spaces. This is sometimes referred to as “data mining”. Some of these methods have been discussed previously in my coatings career development article6.
Patent applications are a simple way to follow new chemistries or uses. The listings that follow are recently filed patent applications that span paints, inks and adhesives. In this case, what is listed provides some information that could be construed as trends, assuming that additional filings are similar. If your focus is one type of coating, simply set up your search accordingly.
In this cross-section of patent applications, we see a theme for the use of environmentally-friendly materials; recycled or sustainable raw materials. Another potential theme appeared last year, seen in multiple patent applications from Dow Global Technologies LLC; Rohm and Haas Company, where they use polyurethanes to improve specific properties of acrylic traffic paints and elastomeric wall coatings. We might assume that Dow, being basic in polyurethane chemistry, seized a competitive advantage by leveraging the performance enhancements provided by polyurethanes.
Please note, the interpretations of what the patent applications mean with respect to technology and market development are the views of this author and someone else may not interpret them similarly. Also, patent applications are simply that; they are not issued patents and as such may not be granted or may be withdrawn.
Recent polyurethane technology patent applications
- US2017/0058081 A1 Tabor et. al. “Cycloaliphatic Polyester Polyols from Thermoplastic Polyesters”, Resinate Materials Group, Inc. March 2, 2017.
- In one embodiment, the recycling of a thermoplastic polyester results in a sustainable alternative to petrochemical-based polyols.
- US2017/0049684 A1 Klang et. al. “Curable Aqueous Polyurethane Dispersions made from Renewable Resources”, Arkema France. February 23, 2017.
- The invention consists of the use of carbon atoms from renewable resources for the polyol portion of the resin for a nail polish formulation.
- US2017/0072728 A1 Lubnin et. al. “Aqueous Cationic Polyurethane Dispersions”, Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc. March 16, 2017.
- The invention is a new dispersion with tethered tertiary amino groups, useful for waterborne digital printing inks. Cationic materials are often overlooked as valuable materials, since the world is basically anionic or non-ionic.
- US2017/0107321 A1 Michaud et. al. “Polyurethane Prepolymer with Cyclocarbonate end groups of low Viscosity and the use Thereof in the Production of a Multi-component Adhesive Composition”, Bostik S.A. April 20, 2017.
- The innovation is specific to the preparation and application of polyurethane prepolymers with at least two methyl carbamate groups of low viscosity and a second component comprising at least one curing agent having at the minimum two primary amine groups. The application is adhesives and build on several different novel components in its invention.
- US2017/0107319 A1 Liao et. al. “Process for Preparing Solvent-Free Aqueous Polyurethane Dispersion”, Na Ya Plastics. April 20, 2017.
- The novel use of acrylate monomer instead of acetone to dilute a prepared polyurethane prepolymer is disclosed. The monomer can be added without cooling and facilitates dispersion in water without grit forming which can occur with the use of acetone as a solvent. The inventors claim that the acrylate also enhances properties of the polyurethane dispersion (PUD).
- US2017/0101501 A1 Forkner et. al. “Pyrrolidine-Based Catalysts for Use in Polyurethane Materials”, Huntsman Petrochemical, LLC. April 13, 2017.
- This is primarily for use in blown foam where amine catalysts are a concern due to toxicity, flammability and malodor. Not really a CASE application, but an interesting patent from a technical perspective.
- US2016/0347978 A1 Thompson et. al. “Waterborne Coating Composition”, The Sherwin-Williams Company. December 1, 2016.
- A single component waterborne coating composition consists of a branched polyester polyurethane dispersion, a polycarbonate PUD blend of a branched polycarbonate PUD and an unbranched, hydroxyl functional polycarbonate PUD and optionally a fluorinated acrylic latex. The use of fluorine chemistry in some cases can increase cost, but there are ways to control this, and garner the large impact on performance.
- US2016/0257847 A1 Hu et. al. “A New Polyurethane/Acrylic Hybrid for Elastomeric Wall Coatings”, Dow Global Technologies LLC; Rohm and Haas Company. September 8, 2016.
- The polyurethane/acrylic (PUA) hybrid dispersion provides the best properties of each chemistry. Similarly, a patent application for traffic paint leverages the early development of dirt resistance that PUD chemistry provides.
In summary, the advances in polyurethane chemistry continues at a rapid pace to meet both performance needs and regulatory requirements. There are numerous tools available to track these activities, and monitoring them closely can give you a formulating edge.
- Get a Reaction with 1K Self-Crosslinking and Isocyanate-Free Technology
- Polyisocyanates Deep Dive
- Dynamic Polyurethanes (Infographic)
- Industrial Coatings Resins – Polyurethanes, Part 1
- Industrial Coatings Resins – Polyurethanes, Part 2
- The Career Success Toolkit: Jumpstarting Your Coatings Career
The views, opinions and technical analyses presented here are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of UL, ULProspector.com or Knowledge.ULProspector.com. While the editors of this site make every effort to verify the accuracy of its content, we assume no responsibility for errors made by the author, editorial staff or any other contributor. All content is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior authorization from Prospector.