Starting out from the need for polyurethanes with higher abrasion and tear resistance for pipeline inspection, an entire class of new high performance elastomers were developed. Within a few years materials were synthesized which did not only extend the mechanical properties of polyurethane elastomers, but also led to the development of completely new products. Applications range from intelligent plastic solutions combining elastomers and electronics via highly abrasion resistant pipe coatings to a new process for recycling and reuse of crosslinked polyurethanes.

Fundamental to these successful developments is the “building-block” chemistry of polyurethanes. A very high number of permutations of the up to 7 components used in the synthesis of a polyurethane elastomer is possible. By choosing the right combinations and the right reaction conditions, specific material properties can be designed.

Materials exhibiting the following material properties, hitherto not found in polyurethanes, were developed:

• An operating temperature range from −50 to +135°C.

• Chemical resistance to highly acidic and alkaline media, e.g., pure ammonia.

• Significantly higher abrasion and tear resistance than standard polyurethanes.

• Exactly adjustable visco-elastic damping (rebound resilience).

• Adhesion to steel higher than reported with any other polyurethane elastomer.

• A novel polyurethane elastomer with more than 90% share of recycled material reaching mechanical properties in the same range as virgin material.

This presentation will detail the materials and their properties and give application examples from pipeline cleaning, pipe protection, and pipe coating to mechanical protection devices made from recycled polyurethane elastomer.

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