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**History and Development of Polyurethane:**
– Polyurethanes were first synthesized in 1937 by Otto Bayer and colleagues in Germany.
– Initial applications during World War II included fibers, flexible foams, and limited aircraft coatings.
– Commercial availability of polyisocyanates began in 1952, with flexible foam production introduced in 1954.
– Advancements in rigid foams, gum rubber, and elastomers occurred in the 1960s.
– Research and development in polyurethane have continued over several decades.

**Chemistry and Production of Polyurethane:**
– Polyurethanes are produced by reacting diisocyanates with polyols, using catalysts like tertiary amines or metallic soaps.
– Careful control of stoichiometry is essential to prevent trimerization, with foam production requiring a blowing agent like water.
– Foam properties are influenced by the concentration and organization of polyurea phases.
– Various raw materials like di- and tri-isocyanates, polyols, and additives are used in the production process.
– Different types of isocyanates and polyols lead to diverse chemical structures in polyurethanes.

**Applications and Global Production of Polyurethane:**
– Foams account for 67% of all polyurethane produced, with applications in coatings, adhesives, fibers like spandex, and automotive components.
– Global polyurethane production reached 25 million metric tonnes in 2019, accounting for about 6% of all polymers produced.
– The Montreal Protocol led to restrictions on blowing agents due to ozone depletion.
– Polyurethane’s versatile applications across various industries drive its continued global production growth.

**Materials and Components in Polyurethane Production:**
– Main ingredients include di- and tri-isocyanates, polyols, and additives for processing and property modification.
– Aromatic diisocyanates like TDI and MDI are commonly used, with aliphatic isocyanates used in coatings for color and transparency.
– Polyols are classified by end use and molecular weight, with bio-derived materials increasingly used for sustainability.
– Chain extenders, cross linkers, and catalysts play crucial roles in determining the properties of polyurethane products.

**Health, Safety, and Environmental Aspects of Polyurethane:**
– Fully reacted polyurethane polymer is chemically inert but combustible, requiring flame retardants for safety.
– Isocyanates, amines, and glycols in polyurethane foams pose health risks, necessitating proper handling and safety measures.
– Concerns exist about the environmental impact of polyurethane, leading to research on degradation, biodegradation, and greener alternatives.
– Guidelines and regulations are in place to ensure the safe production and use of polyurethane products.

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