Polyols application: carpet and furniture


Many different types of polyurethane materials are produced from only a few types of isocyanates and a wide range of polyols with different functionality. Some of the functionality of the polyurethane is determined by choice of polyols; polyether or polyester based. Most polyols used for flexible polyurethane foam today are polyether.

Polyether polyols are produced from propylene oxide, which is a propylene derivative just like acrylonitrile is. Most of these polyols are produced for polyurethane applications. But other end uses range from synthetic lubricants and functional fluids to surface-active agents. The main end uses are in foams for cushioning applications such as furniture and automotive seating. In literature three main types of polyurethanes are distinguished: rigid foam, flexible foam and non-foam.


From all the foams supplied into the transportation segment, flexible foams account for roughly 80% and semi-rigid foams the remainder. The flexible slabs and flexible molded foams are mostly used for seating applications. The semirigid foams, are used for steering wheels, instrument panels, door panels, and arm rests. Substantial amounts of flexible foam are consumed for bedding applications and flexible slab foam is primarily used in furniture cushioning. If the designers prefer a higher foam density or thinner seating with similar, more SAN contents in the polyols is needed.

Flexible polyurethane foam is used in carpet underlay or carpet backings, apparel, in textile laminates and other consumer products such as paint applicators, carriers for fabric softeners, sponges, scrubbers and in home clothes dryers. Non-foam uses include coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers.