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What Is Polyurea?

Polyurea is an organic polymer that is the reaction of isocyanate with an amine terminated polyether resin, forming a plastic-like or rubber-like compound that may be used in many of the same ways as older technologies – polyurethane, epoxy, vinyl ester, neoprene; to name a few.

What is Polyurea? – As defined by the PDA

"A polyurea coating/elastomer is that derived from the reaction product of an isocyanate component and a resin blend component. The isocyanate can be aromatic or aliphatic in nature. It can be monomer, polymer, or any variant reaction of isocyanates, quasi-prepolymer or a prepolymore. The prepolymer, or quasi-prepolymer, can be made of an amine-terminated polymer resin, or a hydroxyl-terminated polymer resin."

Polyurea coatings combine extreme application properties such as rapid cure, even at temperatures well below 0°C, and insensitivity to humidity, with exceptional physical properties such as high bond strength, hardness, continued flexibility, tear and tensile strength, abrasion, chemical and water resistance. The systems are 100 per cent solids, making them compliant with the strictest VOC regulations. Due to its specific curing profile and exceptional film properties, polyurea spray coating technology has been introduced into many markets including civil infrastructure, construction, mining, transportation, agriculture, food processing and manufacturing.

Polyurea’s broad window of application conditions along with its highly desirable characteristics makes it an exceptional choice in applications such as:

  • Concrete repair and rehabilitation
  • Concrete and steel corrosion, chemical and abrasion protection
  • Potable water pipe rehabilitation
  • Concrete and steel potable water reservoir rehabilitation
  • Concrete, steel and wood waterproofing membranes
  • Manhole repair and rehabilitation
  • Green and standard flat roof coatings
  • Primary/Secondary containment
  • Concrete and earthen ponds and pools
  • Bridge deck coatings
  • Rapid set joint fillers and sealants
  • Protection over insulation on pipes and tanks
  • Tank coatings and linings
  • Truck bed liners
  • Bulk transport trailer liners

Polyurea is a remarkable technology with a range of uses limited only by your imagination. As with any coating system, proper surface preparation, correct application equipment and the use of compatible primers is required. Read on for further information on where and how polyurea’s are being used successfully around the globe.

Potable Water Reservoirs and Distribution Systems
Communities around the world depend on the safe and reliable supply of drinking water. An aging infrastructure, however, poses significant challenges to water providers. As both concrete and steel reservoirs age, their ability to withstand deterioration and corrosion is compromised often resulting in structural weakness, leaks and higher turbidity levels. As water distribution pipes age, corrosion and tuberculation build-up can affect water quality, restrict flow, and cause pipe failure. Polyurea’s with ASTM NSF 61.5 approval provide long term solutions to the challenge of economically and effectively correcting these problems and extending the asset life.

Wastewater Treatment Linings
Wastewater treatment facilities, manholes, sewers and lift stations endure some of the most severe and corrosive environments in the water industry. These extreme service environments operate in situations of constant groundwater infiltration, chemical exposure and heavy abrasion that result in deteriorated concrete and corroded steel in tanks, pipelines, containment pits and other infrastructure assets. Leaks, cracking and damage to existing coating systems also top the list of challenges in facility maintenance and new construction. Polyurea coatings & liners are the state-of-the-art technology for the demanding environments and chemical exposure that occur in wastewater utilities. These high performance thick film industrial coatings and linings provide durable, waterproof, seamless, impermeable, and abrasion-resistant barriers against a variety of liquids and chemicals. With proper surface preparation and primers, polyurea can be applied fast to return the infrastructure to service faster than most competitive systems. Polyurea’s ability to form a monolithic, durable liner protects and significantly extends the infrastructure’s service life.

Tank Coatings & Linings
Polyurea coatings protect steel tanks from corrosion, chemicals, and other natural weather and jobsite elements. With proper surface preparation, substrate condition, formulation choice, primers, and installation procedures, polyurea goes on fast and stays on long. Polyurea’s are great for extending the life of older tanks and can offer limited structural characteristics as well. These systems can be applied during primary construction or in a retrofit environment. With their fast cure times they are ideal for retrofit since down time is significantly minimized compared to some competing materials. Polyurea linings are resistant to many chemicals and industrial liquids. With their fast application advantages and ability to adhere to properly prepared substrates, polyurea’s are ideal for new storage tank primary lining and rehabilitation projects.

Landscape and Water Containment
Landscape designers and contractors have found similar benefits with polyurea. Polyurea is often used to contain water for ponds and pool decorations to form a primary containment liner. Use of geotextile material is common when applying polyurea over dirt. Proper surface condition is vital when applying over concrete and most other substrates.

Fuel Storage and Containment
Polyurea is resistant to many fuels and chemicals. It is commonly used to line fuel storage tanks and to provide secondary containment in fuel pits, transfer stations and pipelines. Polyurea is not resistant to all chemicals and necessary compatibility tests and surface preparation are always required.

Joint Fill / Caulk
Polyurea is being successfully used as a multi-purpose joint fill, caulking and sealant material. It can provide a flexible, durable, weather-tight and traffic resistant seal for all types of building joints, such as expansion joints and control joints in masonry floors, perimeter joints, panels and doors, water reservoirs, etc. It has excellent crack-bridging properties with high elongation and tensile strength. The fast cure time and insensitivity to moisture allows for a quicker installation with a wider application window. Proper surface preparation and substrate condition is always necessary.

Highway / Railway Bridge Deck Coatings
Rail and highway bridge decks suffer deterioration from corrosive effects of both natural and man-made agents. The tremendous pounding bridges sustain along with the freeze/thaw cycle, repeated day after day, year after rear, also rapidly deteriorate the structures. A spray applied polyurea elastomeric membrane will provide a highly durable waterproof protective coating that is impervious to deicing chemicals, water, ballast, stray current and other factors that contribute to accelerated deterioration and wear of elevated structures.