The polyurethane production process was patented over 80 years ago. Through all these decades, polyurethane has created quite a revolution in the residential and commercial building sectors.

Polyurethane has become part of nearly every aspect of modern life. While the products for which we use it are often not in plain sight, their benefits are profoundly palpable. First, polyurethane is extremely durable, relatively inexpensive and easy workable. Its resilience and strength, of all its performance characteristics, have made it widely popular.

Polyurethane is, indeed, everywhere. The greatest consumers of polyurethane include large automotive corporations (passenger cabin trim parts, housings, guards, fascias, etc.), household appliance manufacturers (thermal insulation for refrigerators, microwave ovens, stoves, etc.), athletic equipment manufacturers (light-weight structural parts and frames, flexible bike seats, ski shoes, etc.), and global leaders in the construction materials industry.

To grasp the sheer scale of the polyurethane revolution in the construction industry, we need to consider the origins of this material: the space age. Before PIR and PUR panels became commonplace in creating thermal insulation systems, or as a sandwich panel core material for large-scale industrial structures, polyurethane was applied by NASA. Given its superior thermal insulating performance, polyurethane became the first-choice for spacecraft hulls, which had to withstand extreme temperature conditions during take-off, re-entry from space, and landing.

The incredibly low heat transfer coefficient, λ = 0.23 (W/mK), makes polyurethane a favourite core material in sandwich panels, twice as good at thermal insulation than other materials used for the same purpose. PIR and PUR have many potential applications in industrial construction. Sandwich panels are used as wall and roof shells in warehouse buildings, shopping malls, manufacturing floor bays, garage buildings, sports halls, office buildings, cold stores, and so on. Rigid polyurethane panels can protect residential buildings from chilly winters as well as hot summers.

In some countries, polyurethane has been in regular use for many years. Belgium, France and the USA are some of the countries which quickly understood the great benefits of including polyurethane in thermal insulation systems for the home. The number of European markets using polyurethane commercially is increasing, given the extremely stringent EU energy efficiency standards required for buildings.

Aside from creating a comfortable indoor climate, PIR and PUR form the first choice in passive housing. On a global scale, the polyurethane revolution in civil engineering leads to a reduction in the carbon footprint, which in turn improves the environment.

Along with the drive for compliance, project owners also focus on cost efficiency, with polyurethane-based thermal insulation solutions offering significantly reduced construction and maintenance costs. PIR and PUR panels are light, easy to handle and ship (further reducing costs), and resist corrosion from organic compounds and damage from vermin. This makes them perfect for all climates and seasons.Polyurethane-core sandwich panels are one of the most useful construction materials, and is conquering such diverse markets as Iceland, Russia and Germany.

Polyurethane is ubiquitous and is set to become the first choice in thermal insulation materials for many generations to come, including for industrial and residential projects.When we arrive home to our PIR/PUR panel-insulated dwellings we have commuted in vehicles with components made of purpose-specific liquid polyols. We reach for drinks which are conveniently cold from refrigerators based around polyurethane thermal insulation, and then finally we slouch comfortably in front of our smart home controllers in their stylish polyurethane resin enclosures to see how much we have saved on power and heat with polyurethane, the superior thermal insulating material. 


  • Rigid polyurethane boasts a lambda (thermal insulation factor) almost twice as good as other thermal insulation materials
  • PIR/PUR thermal insulation is completely impervious to the effects of water, organic solvents and vermin
  • When exposed to fire for an extended period, PIR is converted into a hard and durable mass
  • Polyurethane is present in nearly all aspects of our lives: from smartphone housings to construction materials
  • PIR/PUR is a green material: it can be made by converting renewable resources, such as rapeseed, while its superior thermal insulating performance contributes to reducing the carbon footprint from the CO2 emissions we generate to heat our homes