History of Polyurea

Ever wondered what makes OBIC coating systems one of the most cost-effective, long-lasting solutions for the maintenance and rehabilitation of everything from manholes to tank linings? It is the result of extensive research, development and testing of polyurea chemistry.

Uniquely designed to meet the demands of water and wastewater systems, OBIC polyurea products have numerous benefits including:

  • They can be spray applied in various environmental conditions
  • They are fast setting, requiring minimal downtime
  • They are designed to maintain excellent abrasion and chemical resistance
  • They can be customized to meet the unique needs of the structure
  • They are environmentally friendly

OBIC’s polyurea products are manufactured in an ISO 9001-2015 certified facility. Each specific product is formulated to maximize its performance based upon the particular application of drinking water, wastewater, stormwater or industrial use.

The History of Polyurea

Polyurea can be described as an advancement of polymer chemistry based upon the earlier chemical family of polyurethanes. This later technology, known as polyurea, is a plural component elastomer system that is used for coating, casting and sealing materials. Plural component elastomer systems have been understood for decades.

Actually, the reactions forming the basis of polymers was discovered in the mid-1800s. The first polymers were produced in the mid to late 1930s. During the 1950s and 1960s considerable research occurred in the area of urethane development and during the early ‘70s the use of polyurethane as an elastomeric coating became significant. References to polyurea appear in the literature during that time period, but its extremely fast set times proved problematic for practical application uses.

In the early 1980s, the development of reaction injection molding technology (RIM) allowed the use of polyurea in the manufacture of automobile parts. The front and rear bumpers, fenders, doors and quarter panels of the Pontiac Fiero, as well as bumper parts for the Camaro and Trans Am, were molded from polyurea.

In the mid-’80s Texaco Chemical Company began significant efforts to develop polyurea for spray applications. Concurrently, Gusmer Corporation (now owned by Graco) worked with Texaco to develop innovative equipment suitable for the spray application of polyurea. The first commercial polyurea coating was sprayed in 1989.

Polyurea vs Polyurethane

Polyurea and Polyurethane are both two-part systems, the basic difference being in the resin side of the formula. Avoiding a complex chemistry explanation, it is easiest to understand that polyurea cures incredibly quickly (typically ±10 seconds). It is resistant to a broad range of corrosives, and cured material has excellent adhesion and abrasion qualities. Polyurea is unique as a spray-applied coating in that it can be installed, and depending on the application, used almost immediately.

Polyurea coatings uniquely combine properties such as rapid cure, even in cold temperatures, and insensitivity to humidity. They are 100 percent-solids, making them compliant with strict VOC regulations, and have exceptional physical properties such as

  • High hardness
  • Flexibility
  • Tear strength
  • Tensile strength
  • Chemical and water resistance

Product Demonstrations

OBIC polyurea coating systems offer a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to the replacement of water and wastewater system components. To learn more about OBIC, we encourage you to visit our website and schedule a product demonstration.

Product demonstrations can be conducted in an optional lunch and learn format, and we encourage you to invite anyone who is interested in learning more about OBIC products. All we need from you is a location and a manhole no deeper than 8-9’ for the demonstration. We will provide the refreshments.

The OBIC lunch and learn program takes about one hour and may generally be used to meet CEU requirements for engineers.