A polyurethane hose is made from top-notch polymer with impressive mechanical properties. Compared to other plastics, polyurethane is vastly superior. It offers incredible flexibility, abrasion and temperature resistance, and optimum durability, which is why it is not surprising that a lot of high end consumer products – from kayaks and running shoes – have polyurethane components.
Most manufacturers of polyurethane make use of prime, highly engineered resins. Note that polyurethane is one material that offers the best properties of both plastic and rubber. A polyurethane hose has better flexibility compared to those which are made from other materials such as nylon; this is why a hose made from this material is recommended for applications that require a tighter bend radius. The material also ensures abrasion and tear resistance and has high tensile values, plus low compression settings. Most no-kink hoses in the market are in fact made of this material. This material is also ozone resistant, which means cracking is not likely to occur. Most polyurethane hoses are also fire and welding spatter-resistant. Some formulations are also resistant against bacteria, caustic solutions and hydrocarbons.
Polyurethane hoses could be single layer or two-layer, with the latter being the more durable version. Some hoses can also be reinforced with fiber braid for optimum durability.
Polyurethane hoses can either be the ester or ether variety. Both have virtually the same hardness values (up to 85 shore units). As far as tensile strength is concerned, ester polyurethane has slightly higher PSI values, while ether has higher elongation properties. Ester polyurethane typically gets brittle at 95 degrees F while ether would get brittle at 90 degrees F. Ester polyurethane also typically has higher maximum operating temperature (up to 185 degrees F), while ether’s maximum operating temperature is around 175 degrees F. Ester formulations could operate at negative 95 degrees F as well.
An ester polyurethane hose is typically cheaper and can handle oil well; however, water molecules tend to attack this formulation, causing it to degrade quickly when introduced to moisture. The ether-based polyurethane hose may not be able to handle oil as well but it has superior hydrolytic stability that enables it to withstand humid environments. In fact, ether-based polyurethane is the recommended material for applications that require water transport or exposure to moisture. Also, some ether polyurethane formulations conform to FDA standards which means they can be used for transporting potable water as well as in food preparation.
These hoses typically come in diameter sizes ranging from ¼ inch to 1 inch, although some manufacturers produce them in quite a lot of sizes: 1/8, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, ½, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, ¾, 13/16, 7/8 inch, 1 and 1/8 inches, and 1 and ¼ inches. Lengths vary from 50, to 100, 500, 1000 and 1500 feet.
Both ester and ether formulations could be used for a range of applications such as insulation, cable jacketing, computer disk drives and gas lines. The hydrolysis resistant ether variety is used for hydraulic control systems, automated machinery, pneumatic control systems, and of course, for good old household tasks like gardening, and washing cars and decks. Industrial grade braid reinforced polyurethane Hoses are used for the transfer of highly abrasive powder and petroleum products.