Polyurethanes are made from two components, a polyol (also called a polyhydroxyl) and polyisocyanate (also referred to as iso), mixed in a one to one ratio.
For simplicity, the polyol part of polyurethenes can be referred to as the resin. The polyol part can contain chemicals (promoters) to increase the system reactivity and can also contain additives. Additives to polyurethane resins include any one of the following: thixotrope, pigment, filler, UV absorbers and fire retardant. The polyisocyanate part of polyurethanes is described in more detail in the section on polyurethane curing agents.
Polyurethanes can be supplied as two pack systems where the polyol is part A and the polyisocyanate is part B. When these two liquid parts are mixed they react completely, chemical bonds called crosslinks are formed between them and a cured solid forms. Polyurethanes can also be supplied as single pack systems, made up of a partially reacted polyurethane polymer. During fabrication, these systems further react with moisture to form a cured solid.
Polyurethanes in the composites industry are used in the form of a resin in a composite laminate. In a composite part, the resin binds the fibres together, allows loads to be transferred between the fibres and provides a barrier to weather, water or chemicals. Polyurethanes are also used as adhesives, which may be supplied as two pack or single pack systems. Some polyurethanes can be made into foams by the additions of foaming agents and with the appropriate manufacturing process.
If either of the two components of polyurethane resins come in contact with the eyes and skin they can cause irritation. Irritation will also occur if either chemical is inhaled or swallowed.
Special Protection Information
Respiratory Protection: Adequate ventilation must be provided. If above the NOHSC exposure standard, use SA approved respiratory protective equipment. If dust is generated during cutting or machining/grinding/sanding of cured product, wear disposable dust mask (Type P1).
Eye Protection: Use SA approved chemical splash goggles.
Protective Clothing: Wear chemical resistant gloves such as butyl rubber or neoprene rubber gloves. Apply barrier creams to un-covered skin. Wear full length trousers and long sleeved shirts and safety boots.
CONSULT SAFETY EQUIPMENT SUPPLIERS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS.
Effects of Exposure
Eyes: Can cause irritation and redness.
Inhalation: Will cause upper respiratory tract irritation.
Skin: Prolonged and/or frequent contact will result in irritation of the skin. Sensitisation of the skin may result from frequent and/or prolonged contact.
Swallowing: Can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation.
First Aid Procedures
Eyes: Flush with water for at least 15 minutes.
Inhalation: Remove to fresh air. If breathing is difficult, seek immediate medical assistance.
Skin: Remove contaminated clothing for laundering. Wash with soap and water. Do NOT use solvents.
Swallowing: Do NOT induce vomiting. If person is conscious, they should drink large quantities of water. Seek medical advice immediately.
Spill or Leak Procedures
Eliminate all sources of ignition and ventilate area. Wearing protective equipment, stop spill at source, dam area and if possible pump liquid into salvage tank. Alternatively, absorb residue with vermiculite or sand. Scoop up using non-sparking tools into labelled waste container. Flush area with water, but prevent it from entering waterways. Dispose of waste in accordance with local, state and federal regulations. Reporting of spills/leaks may be required under EPA and Dangerous Goods regulations.
Fire Extinguishing Procedures
Wear protective clothing and equipment including self-contained breathing equipment. In general, use water, mist, foam or carbon dioxide to put out fires. (Refer to MSDS). Cool fire exposed containers with water spray.
Storage and Handling Procedures
DG Class 3 (Flammable liquid). Store in properly closed, labelled containers in a cool, well ventilated area. Keep away from strong oxidising agents. Do not transfer to unmarked containers. Do not transfer to unapproved plastic containers. Open containers outside to allow venting of any vapours, especially if warmed. Earth containers when pouring to prevent the discharge of static electricity.
KEY to abbreviations – CNS: Central Nervous System EPA: Environmental Protection Authority NOHSC: National Occupational Health & Safety Commission (Worksafe Australia) PVC: Polyvinyl chloride SA:Standards Australia
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