The material I chose to investigate is Polyurethane. This is formed when polyol (alcohol with over two reactive hydroxyl groups per molecule) reacts with a polymeric isocyanate. Suitable catalysts and additives must be present. Because there is a range of suitable diisocyanates and polyols, several different materials can therefore be produced.
Polyurethane was first invented in 1937 by Otto Bayer and his co-workers. Otto Bayer was head of the scientific laboratory I.G. Farben in Germany. Polyurethane was invented in a bid to establish a simpler and quicker method of producing plastic. It was very mnuch seen as a replacement for rubber. Polyurethane products were used during World War ll, and by it’s end was also used in manufacturing on an industry scale.
Foams, coatings, sealants and adhesives are just some of the things polyurethane can produce. Two of its main uses are artificial grass and car parts. Polyurethane is often used in the making of artificial grass as it is water-proof. It is an adhesive that bonds the grass surfaces. Because polyurethane doesn’t wear and break as easily as rubber does, the use in car parts has increased.
According to the USA Environmental Protection Agencies, polyurethane foam can potential contain severely dangerous chemicals and pollutants, for example methylene chloride. The pollutants have been linked asthma, respiratory disease and death. Polyurethane has potential to cause irritation to eyes, skin, throat, lungs and nose; and also cause allergic reactions.
Some products made with polyurethane such as spray polyurethane foams (thermal insulation) can actually assist the environment by increasing energy efficiency and make structures more durable. http://www.urethanes-technology-international.com/index.php/content/view/full/23587 Above is a link to an article posted on Urethanes Technology International on 04/11/2013.