Huntsman develops new polyurea prepolymers with increased chemical and temperature resistance

A new prepolymer development programme, conducted by Huntsman Polyurethanes, has shown that it is technically possible to significantly improve the chemical and heat resistance of polyurea spray technologies.

The work conducted so far shows potential new opportunities in the polyurea market. It means that in the future, coating formulators could work with companies like Huntsman to create advanced polyurea spray solutions that are more resistant to acid, can withstand solvent attack and perform better under higher temperature conditions.

Traditionally, technical teams looking for improvements in polyurea have concentrated on re-engineering the resin component of a system – mainly because the raw materials on this side are much easier to handle. Huntsman’s initial work has however shown that a different approach could be taken.

During research, Huntsman scientists concentrated on modifying the isocyanate part of polyurea. Other companies in the coatings business often use different isocyanates to adjust the cure speed and elongation properties of a spray system. But Huntsman’s technical experts took their programme a step further and studied how the isocyanate chemistry can positively influence the chemical performance and physical attributes of a final coating solution.

During research trials, Huntsman tested four different systems. SUPRASEC® 2054, an established industry isocyanate was used as a benchmark. Three prototypes were developed from this prepolymer by adjusting molecular weight distribution, increasing chemical crosslinking and introducing different isomer structures to the MDI molecule. All four sprays were then applied under trial conditions and tested for chemical resistance and mechanical and thermal properties. This was done using industry standard solvents in environments that are typically encountered in the commercial coating application field.

The initial results were striking. Huntsman found that modification of the MDI prepolymer, by selected prepolymerisation, can result in improved acid resistance and make a polymer more tolerant to high temperatures. It also discovered that modifications to the MDI structure can lead to improved resilience to solvent attack.

Geert Dries, technical service team leader for coatings (EAME) at Huntsman Polyurethanes, said: “In the twenty years since it was first introduced, polyurea has become widely recognised for its fast cure capabilities, thermal stability and water insensitivity. However, until now it was considered less appropriate for applications where chemical resistance and resilience to high temperatures were a must; formulators would typically select epoxy or polyester solutions instead.

“Our development programme means this could all change. We have lots more work to undertake in this field before we have a commercial proposition. But, we have demonstrated that it is possible to have a very positive impact on the overall performance of what are already, very robust polyurea systems. Our knowledge of the isocyanate side, combined with formulators experience in fine tuning resin components, gives us the potential to broaden out the application of polyurea spray coatings and change how these solutions are specified in the future.”

About Huntsman
Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals.  Its operating companies manufacture products for a variety of global industries, including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging.  Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging and, later, for rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has more than 12,000 employees and operates from multiple locations worldwide. 
The Company had 2008 revenues exceeding $10 billion. For more information about Huntsman, please visit the Company’s website at

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Ilse Vanden Brande, tel:+ 32 2 758 7420