A Quick Education on Polyureas, Hybrids, and Polyurethane Technology
Fast-set spray systems typically fall into one of three categories, based on their underlying chemistry: Polyurethane, Polyurea and Hybrid. Each chemisty has advantages and disadvantages based on the application. Let’s understand the basics of each:
Polyurethane – In the transportation and marine markets, polyurethane coatings are considered the economy option. While polyurethane formulations allow for a wide range of hardnesses and physical properties, they are very sensitive to a reaction between the isocyanate and water (typically in the form of humidity or substrate surface moisture). A polyurethane is formed from the reaction of an isocyanate and a polyol. These chemicals react very slowly – too slowly for a spray coating – unless a catalyst is added to the formulation. The catalyst, however, promotes the undesired reaction between the isocyanate and water as well as the desired reaction between the isocyanate and polyol. For this reason, polyurethane coatings are very sensitive to humidity and moisture that can adversely affect the performance of the coating.
Polyurea – Polyurea coatings are considered the premium coating option. Polyureas are more expensive than polyurethanes, but allow for significant processing and application advantages. A polyurea is formed from the reaction between an isocyanate and an amine. These chemicals react almost instantaneously, even without a catalyst. Since there is no catalyst in the formulation, the isocyanate-water reaction still happens very slowly. The isocyanate-amine reaction is so much faster than the isocyanate-water reaction that the water reaction is almost completely eliminated. This allows polyurea formulations to be very robust to any humidity or moisture concerns that would otherwise have a negative effect on the performance of the coating.
Hybrid – Hybrid coatings are a blend of polyurethanes and polyureas. The reaction is between and isocyanate and a blend of polyols and amines. The amine content allows for a lower level of moisture sensitivity, and the polyol content allows for a more favorable price point. Hybrids are an excellent choice for the widest range of applications, as they provide an excellent balance of performance, moisture insensitivity, and price.
Pictures of removing an old drop-in bed liner and spraying on a new GatorHyde bed liner.
GatorHyde markets a line of high performance polyureas and hybrids. It has identified these chemistries to be most beneficial to our customers in terms of field performance and longevity, ease of application, and value. A GatorHyde representative would be happy to work with you to determine which product and chemistry is best for your application, and explain and demonstrate the advantages and value to you.