Health and Safety

Many studies about the use of Polyurethanes and the potential risk to human health have condemned Polyurethanes as dangerous substances.

When using them responsibly, we can minimise their affect on us.

Short term affects of over exposure to isocyanates (the most dangerous of the two parts) include irritation of skin on contact, irritation of mucous membranes and chest tightness and difficult breathing.

Long term affects of over exposure to isocyanates include; classification as a potential human carcinogen (cancer accelerants). Isocyanates could also increase the risk of making the user sterile and causing birth defects in unborn children. If you think you may be pregnant or are expecting do not use, or allow yourself to be exposed to, any form of liquid polyurethanes.

Precautions to Take to Ensure Safe Usage

•Personal protection equipment- An approved urethane filter respirator should be used.

    As well as protective gloves, apron, goggles and long sleeves.

•Use the material in a careful and controlled manner.

•Use only in a controlled environment with approved extraction units and filtration.

Ensure your protection from any possible chance of over exposure, and minimise the risk to your health.

Always read the health and safety data sheet for each new material you use.

Polyurethanes are available from Bentley Advanced Materials

Prices vary:

£10.00 p/kg for rigid foam

£25.00 p/kg for most rubbers and soft foams

£20-30.00 p/kg for most resins

The 3 main types of polyurethanes are:

Urethane resin, Urethane rubber and Urethane foams

What are Polyurethanes?

All Polyurethanes are produced by the reaction of a polyol (alcohol-based hydroxyl compound), which is usually creamy in consistency and lighter in colour, generally speaking, and an isocyanate (reacts with hydroxyl compounds to form urethane polymers), is the more volatile and dangerous of the two parts.

There are many different types of polyol and isocyanate and the way they are combined

dictates the properties you can expect from your selected choice.

For example, any paints, rubbers, plastics, foams or adhesives which are polyurethane-based are engineered through selection of the right combination of polyol and isocyanate.

Polyurethanes are highly versatile and can be produced to almost any tolerance, soft or hard, flexible or rigid, most polyurethanes still retain their toughness and durability without the need for reinforcements that polyesters can sometimes need.

Industrial uses for polyurethane include, spandex fibres, paints, surface coatings, car seats, furniture, mattresses, under-carpet padding, packaging materials, shoes and trainers, fabrics, and adhesives, mobile phones and more.


Polyurethane expanding flexible foam taken from a life-cast, skin mould


Polyurethane rubber jacket casting, taken from a multi-part, RP powder sintered mould


Polyurethane rubber casting, taken from a platinum, clear silicone spiral split mould


Polyurethane rubber casting, taken from a platinum, clear silicone spiral split mould