Polyurethane Rubber; What It Is, Uses, Pros and Cons

Polyurethane rubber is a synthetic polymer made from two or more types of monomers. It can be made in different ways, but the most common method is to react an isocyanate with a polyol. This creates a polymer that has many uses, both industrial and consumer-based. It can be found in a variety of applications, including insulation, adhesives, sealants and elastomers.

Polyurethane rubber was first created in the early 1940s. It has since become one of the most popular types of rubber, due to its many benefits.

Polyurethane rubber is often used in the manufacturing of tires, seals, hoses, and belts because it is resistant to abrasion and has high tensile strength. The benefits of polyurethane rubber do not stop there, it is also resistant to oils, grease, and UV light.

Some of the disadvantages of polyurethane rubber include that it is not as flexible as natural rubber and it can be difficult to work with. Overall, polyurethane rubber has a lot of benefits that make it a great choice for many applications.

What Is Polyurethane Rubber?

It is a synthetic polymer that can be from either polyester or polyether.

Types Of Polyurethane Rubber

Polyurethane Rubber; What It Is, Uses, Pros and Cons

There are three types: thermoplastic, thermoset, and elastomeric. Each type has its own unique set of characteristics that make it suitable for certain applications.

1. Thermoplastic

Thermoplastic polyurethanes can be repeatedly softened and hardened by heat; they are used in injection molding and extrusion. Besides, they are also used as coatings and adhesives.


  • Thermoplastic polyurethanes have good abrasion resistance and chemical resistance.
  • They can be colored easily.
  • They are recyclable.


  • Thermoplastic polyurethanes are not as strong as thermoset polyurethanes.
  • They are less durable than elastomeric polyurethanes.

2. Thermoset

Thermoset polyurethanes are cured by heat and cannot be softened or hardened. Hence, they can be good for casting, laminating, and molding.


  • Thermoset polyurethanes have high mechanical properties such as tensile strength and hardness.
  • They can be colored and have a variety of finishes.
  • They are resistant to oils and solvents.


  • Thermoset polyurethanes are less flexible than thermoplastic polyurethanes.
  • They are more expensive.
  • Curing requires heat. So, it can damage some substrates.

3. Elastomeric

This type of rubber is a highly elastomeric material. Therefore, it can stretch and return to its original shape without any damage.

It also has great resistance to wear. Consequently, it is ideal for use in a variety of applications.


  • Highly elastomeric
  • Resistant to wear
  • Used in a variety of applications


  • It may be susceptible to environmental factors. For example, UV light.

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Uses of Polyurethane Rubber

Some common uses include:

  • Tires
  • Sealing systems
  • Hoses
  • Belts

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Very versatile
  • Suitable for multiple applications
  • Highly durable
  • High abrasion resistance
  • High tensile strength
  • Resistant to oils and solvents


  • It May is not suitable for all applications
  • Can be expensive depending on the grade/type purchased.
  • Can be brittle at low temperatures
  • Not resistant to ozone or UV radiation

Related Post: Is Polyurethane Toxic? Everything You Need To Know 


Is Polyurethane Rubber Resistant to Oils and Solvents?

Yes, it is resistant to most oils and solvents.

Is Polyurethane Rubber Flexible?

It can stretch and return to its original shape without any damage.

How Does Polyurethane Rubber Compare to Other Types of Rubber?

Polyurethane is highly elastomeric, making it more flexible than most other types of rubber. Moreover, it is resistant to wear, making it ideal for use in a variety of applications. However, it may be susceptible to environmental factors (e.g. UV light).

Is Polyurethane Rubber Recyclable?

Yes. You can recycle it into new products such as flooring, insulation, and furniture. Besides, recycling helps reduce waste and conserve resources.

Additionally, using recycled polyurethane rubber helps lower manufacturing costs. It is a very versatile material that has many uses. Moreover, it is strong, durable, and has a good resistance to wear and tear.


You should consider using polyurethane rubber if you need a material with good abrasion resistance, high tensile strength, or flexibility.

However, keep in mind that it is not the best choice for every application. In other words, it can be expensive, and it may not be suitable for some applications requiring a low-temperature or chemical resistance.

But, it is a good material that you should consider using in your next project.

Good luck!

Also Check: What is polyurethane?