When scientist Dr. Otto Bayer discovered the basic polyurethane chemistry in Germany in 1937, then he realized polyurethanes could be made into fine threads. It was combined with nylon to make more lightweight, stretchable apparel. Over the years, polyurethanes have been improved and developed. Today PU fabric is produced from spandex fibers to polyurethane coatings for fabrics, as well as thermoplastic elastomers also. Let’s read about the PU fabric material, the most versatile family of polymers fabric.
What is PU fabric material?
PU fabric refers to the ‘Polyurethane’ fabric which has a polymer-coated finish that gives us the appearance of leather. Polyurethane fabric is also known as PUL fabric. It is a waterproof fabric, typically polyester. But cotton or a polyblend material may be heat-laminated to a polyurethane layer. It provides extremely lightweight and durable properties. PU fabrics are used in several industries, from medical textile manufacturers to activewear.
Table Of Contents
What is PU fabric material made of?
PU fabric is made of an elastomer polymer called Polyurethane. Where the repeating chain of soft polymer molecules is formed into a fibrous material. When these elastomers are spun into fibers they can produce a flexible textile material for fabric.
PU composite material is made of one or several layers of polymer resins that might be joined by urethane links. And pu finished coating can be applied on a woven or non-woven textile backing like cotton, polyester, nylon, or ground leather.
Usually, PU coating is applied to a single side of the base fabric. It makes the PU fabric water-resistant, lightweight as well as flexible. PU fabric provides the most realistic hallucination of leather when it comes to its soft supple hand. It's pretty difficult to compare with the original one. PU is cost-effective, durable, and more stylish than real leather.
Types of Polyurethane Resin Systems
Every polyurethane-coated fabric is made from 3 basic types of polymer resins. There are:
- Polycarbonate - PC
- Polyether - PET
- Polyester - PES
These resins could be used in combination, such as:
- Polyether – Polycarbonate
- Polyether- Polyester
PU Fabric Material Properties
Polyurethane fabrics are manufactured to feature versatile characteristics. They are as follows:
- Durable and abrasion-resistant fabric.
- Soft, lightweight, and breathable
- Most washable fabric, it’s designed to hold their properties through at least thousands of cycles in the washer and dryer without harm to the apparel.
- It’s flexible and easy to work with, especially with the medical textile product.
- Strong and also waterproof if needed.
- Chemical additives can improve the performance of abrasion resistance, hydrolysis resistance, flame retardation, lightfastness, and cleanability.
- Pu could be manufactured in different thicknesses, depending on their intended use. Examples such as fabric used in diapers may be thinner than fabrics used for camping gear.
- Color Fastness and stain resistance can be achieved through the skin layer on the top finish of the fabric.
Application of PU Fabric Material:
Thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers could be shaped and molded. When these elastomers are spun into fibers it produces a flexible material called spandex. Spandex is used to make socks, brassieres, tops, support hoses, swimsuits, and other athletic clothing.
- The primary material for medical textiles such as medical air mattresses, disposable diapers, and the like.
- Protective clothing and fire-retardant fabric are made for industrial applications.
- Sophisticated and more comfortable weatherproof clothing such as rain clothes, life vests, and sports anoraks
- Standard material for manufacturing canopies mattress covers, raincoats, and camping gear.
- Nowadays using advanced polyurethane manufacturing techniques, manufacturers can easily produce a broad range of polyurethane clothing from man-made skins and leathers to sports clothes as well as a variety of accessories.
Pu fabric is more sustainable than any other man-made or synthetic coated fabric. Cause PU fabric doesn’t use solvents. As a result, it doesn't produce any harmful toxins. It’s a very strong material able to withstand heat and moisture. That means waste will be reduced. Because a single polyurethane-made item, such as a life vest, can be used repeatedly for longer periods than other materials.