Polyamide vs. polyurethane – material properties
Plastic tubing for industrial use gets mainly manufactured out of Polyamide or Polyurethane. Both are polymers, i.e. chemical materials composed of a chain of organic units. But both polymers differ significantly in regard to some essential qualities. Polyamide vs. polyurethane is not a question of good or bad – it is a question of suitable or unsuitable.
Polyamide is way harder than polyurethane. Thus, it can withstand higher pressures and is generally more robust. That also includes the resistance to many chemicals. However, the hardness of the material comes with some disadvantages as well. Polyamide tubing in many cases is so hard that it behaves more like a pipe than a tube. This can lead to problems with installation in cases where space is scarce. The minimum bending radius of polyamide tubing is many times larger than that of polyurethane tubing.
Moreover, if the minimum bending radius is undercut once, the polyamide tubing kinks and kink marks occur. These marks are weak points where the tube breaks first during further usage. To make polyamide a bit more flexible, softeners get used in many cases. This leads to a shorter life span due to the evaporating properties of softeners. Moreover, the usage of softeners makes polyamide tubing unsuitable for many applications.
Compared with Polyamide, Polyurethane is much softer. This makes polyurethane tubing a bit less robust. It can’t withstand as high pressures as tubing made of polyamide. However, the standard working pressure in pneumatics is around 6 to 12 bar and polyurethane tubing can handle that easily. Due to its softness, polyurethane tubing does not need to contain softeners. Therefore, it can be used in sensitive areas such as medical technology or the food industry. Additionally, the absence of softeners leads to a much longer lifespan of polyurethane tubing compared with tubing made of polyamide. The higher flexibility enables usage in much smaller spaces and with very narrow bending radii.
Polyamide vs. polyurethane – we chose our path
In its early years, PAPUREX W. Buechner GmbH did manufacture both materials, but specialized in high-quality polyurethane, due to the advantages mentioned above. Along with this specialization, the focus on this material allowed PAPUREX years of improvements in quality, further development, and real innovations. As PAPUREX is capable of calibrating the outer and the inner diameter as well, the quick couplings may fit inside or outside the tubing, whatever the client’s requirements are.
Do you need further information on the comparison of polyamide vs. polyurethane or consultation on which tubing is the best for your use case? Don’t hesitate to contact our experts!