Friday, March 19, 2021

Polyurea spray coatings can protect anything

Polyurea spray coatings can add some amazingly strong properties to otherwise fragile structures in a matter of minutes. If you've never seen it, a video search can show loose stacks of cinder block, Styrofoam coolers, and even watermelons made indestructible after simply "painting" them with this stuff.

Polyurea is a long-chain elastomer of isocyanates and amines that form urea substances at their converging joints.

... which is a detail you'd be hard-pressed to even find a use for in a profession playing trivia video games at your local pizza store. The fundamental part here is that there are long molecular chains of strong bonds that link together with a compound called "urea". There are many of these links, hence the "poly" part of the name. One benefit of these chains of particles being long and complex is that they hold firm and take in a lot of energy and can reorient in between the interlinking bonds to extend.

This makes the material suddenly strong and flexible at the same time. While particular polyurea solutions might differ, they are quickly lot of times stronger and often times more versatile than epoxy. These substances achieve around 6000 psi tensile strength and 500% -800% elongation prior to breaking, with particular blends accomplishing over 250,000 psi strength! By comparison, moderate steel has a tensile strength of simply 50,000-65,000 psi. And all of this from a spray finishing!

How is this useful?

Think of it. You can essentially spray a flexible, waterproof coating with the strength of steel onto any shape. There are no VOCs. It sets to the touch in just seconds and cures to full strength within hours. Some just recently established polyurea-based materials are even self-healing at space temperature-- and this on a molecular level, which indicates it can recover itself over and over once again in the very same location.

The military definitely took notice. These compounds have actually been utilized in military cars and structures to improve armor and minimize shrapnel from roadside (or undersea) bombs without including significant weight. This is something the Army, Navy, even the Pentagon has actually taken advantage of.

Commercially, polyureas are utilized to seal and protect building roofing systems offering long maintenance-free performance.

Perhaps among the most popular and familiar uses is for spray-on bed liners. Under the popular brand "ArmorThane", polyurea coatings are applied to an entire array of automobile and rv parts.

Boat hulls are coated below the waterline for protection from abrasion and deterioration. Polyurea coatings here last about 8x longer than conventional coatings in these extreme marine environments.

These substances are formulated by significant chemicals or coatings companies like 3M and BASF. Specific formulas will differ in strength and flexibility and can be colored as desired. Some are even approved by FDA/ USDA for food contact.

Consider where polyurea coatings may bring the level of performance you require to your items.

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