Are you a fan of the great outdoors? Then you know that for as much fun and opportunity the outdoors offers, it can also get to be quite extreme. We’re talking severe weather, wild animals and dangerous landscape. And when Mother Nature rears its head, it’s important to have the right products and the right material in your corner ready to keep you safe and comfortable. Polyurethane products can help achieve this – whether it’s for roughing the outdoors or for demanding athletic purposes.
Polyurethane is one of the most popular polymers used in many products today, including many for outdoor purposes. This is largely due to polyurethane’s ideal impact resistance and abrasion resistance, which makes it a tough material. It is also durable and won’t lose its properties over time, so it’s able to be used in more than just products and packaging with short shelf life. Finally, polyurethane film is easy to work with, and can be laminated and modified to cater to specific product applications. While polyurethane film is perhaps best known for use in industrial applications due to its high temperature threshold, the durability of the film allows it to be used in many outdoor products as well. We’ll get into some of these products in the next section.
Polyurethane Outdoors: Product Applications
While we covered many of the benefits of polyurethane film in the above section, there are a few more key benefits that make this film applicable to demanding outdoor products. First, there’s the fact that it’s a film that resists microbial growth – so even in the most humid environments, the likelihood of mold growth is slim. Secondly, it’s a waterproof film, which opens it up for use in a variety of applications. Here’s a look at a sampling of some of the outdoor products that polyurethane film is used in:
- Personal flotation devices (i.e., life preservers)
- Inflatable stand up paddleboards
- Sail windows
- Athletic tents
- Air soles for athletic shoes
- Transparent panels in backpacks
- Bladders for athletic balls
- Bladders for kitesurfing kites
- Breathable membranes for outerwear
- Hydration systems for backpacks
- Insulation systems for gloves
- Tents and tent windows
- Map pockets
- Gel-filled bladders for impact cushioning
When it comes to products – especially those designed for rigorous outdoor use or athletic use – it’s often the materials that dictate just how viable the product is. Product that is designed and manufactured with the wrong materials are only going to fail prematurely, while those designed with the right materials are going to last longer and perform better. Polyether grade polyurethane films aren’t just versatile in the properties they exhibit and wide range of applications, but also in how they’re able to be created. Specifically, polyurethane films can be manufactured in wide web formats up to more than 80 inches. Thicknesses are able to range from 25 microns to one millimeter. This makes it as versatile in eventual application as it does in production.
The last thing you want when you’re out camping is for your tent to rip and rain water to begin dripping on you as you’re in shelter for the night. Athletes don’t want their shoes to tear apart in the middle of a race or the big game. And a life preserver isn’t going to do any good if the materials used to create it are shredded and deteriorated. That’s what makes polyurethane such a valuable material for athletic and outdoor purposes. When the going gets tough, you need a tough material.