Urea-formaldehyde, more commonly known as urea-methanal, is named for its structure and common synthesis pathway. Produced with urea and formaldehyde, it creates a non-transparent thermosetting resin or polymer that has become a common component of various products. But let’s go into detail and discuss the properties and uses of urea-formaldehyde resin so you can decide if this is the polymer for you.
First, let’s identify the properties of urea-formaldehyde resin that make it so useful and malleable for an assortment of uses.
- High tensile strength – The maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before breaking.
- High flexural modulus – The ratio of stress to strain that a material can endure while bending before it yields.
- High heat-distortion temperatures – At what temperature the material will begin to “soften” when exposed to a fixed load at elevated temperatures.
- Low water absorption
- Mold shrinkage – When the volume of the molten plastic filled inside the cavity of a mold shrinks during the process of cooling and solidifying.
- High surface hardness
- Elongation at break – The ratio between changed length and initial length after the material breaks.
- Volume resistance – The electrical resistance of a body to a current passing through its bodily substance.
- Contains a refractive index of 1.55
With how pervasive urea-formaldehyde resin is, there are many industries that make use of urea-formaldehyde resin manufacturers. Some of the more general uses include laminates, textiles, paper, wrinkle-resistant fabrics, cotton blends, and foam artificial snow. It can also be found as a coating for electrical appliances such as desk lamps.
The properties and uses of urea-formaldehyde resin extend to farming as a slow-releasing source of nitrogen that is beneficial for the nourishment of crops. The release of this nitrogen is dependent upon the microbial activity within the soil, and the rate of release can be altered based on temperature, with the optimal temperature being between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
The other major use of urea-formaldehyde resin is its conversion into an insulation foam. It has a consistency that is similar to shaving cream and is ideal for being injected into walls and spaces with odd or difficult shapes. The foam will harden within minutes and cure within a matter of weeks.