Storing Urethane Products
With the year ending, we know some plants and operations will cease operation or lie dormant for a few months. Maybe the pandemic has forced you to shut down for an unexpected amount of time. Whatever the case may be, if you plan to store stocked Argonics products during this period of inactivity, we want to offer some recommendations to ensure your product(s) will store safely and without damage.
ENVIRONMENTS TO AVOID FOR STORAGE
Photo: This is an example of a sheet product that has succumbed to hydrolysis.
Urethane is a versatile material, but it doesn’t thrive well in certain environments. It’s not recommended to store Argonics products where there will be:
- Direct sunlight
Prolonged solar heat leaves urethane susceptible to thermal decomposition. Over time, the physical properties will degrade, and UV light will also cause discoloration of the product. If the storage area for the product has lots of sunlight, we recommend minimizing the exposure to UV rays as much as possible.
- Hot and humid areas
Stagnant water and moisture promote hydrolysis, which is when urethane suffers a chemical breakdown. This is evident when the product chips or crumbles, or peels away from anything embedded in the product, like a metal plate.
- Exposure to the elements
Some Argonics products are formulated from a harder durometer that can handle being outside when in use in a given operation. However, it’s best to keep uninstalled product indoors, and protected from excessive humidity, when possible, for maximum product performance.
WHAT WE RECOMMEND
- Store product in a dry environment with humidity levels less than 30%. At Argonics, we have a 16,000 square foot storage space with temperature and humidity control to keep our stored products in ideal condition.
- As far as temperature, the 60 degree Fahrenheit range is the ideal climate for urethane. Urethane can handle a fairly wide temperature range, but this is the environment where it holds up the best. We know this is not an option for everyone; the most important takeaway is limiting the exposure to humidity.
- Urethane should have some airflow when stored for long periods of time. If urethane is stored in a place with a lack of airflow, it could lead to buildup of moisture or humidity, which would have adverse effects on the product.
INSPECT AND MAINTAIN PRODUCTS
It is always a good idea to inspect your products before storage. If you notice any gouges, tears, or other blemishes, it’s best to use a polyurethane-based caulking adhesive to fill in holes and fix the affected areas. When making repairs, clean and dry the affected area, and make sure it is stripped of grease or other substances. If repairs are done as soon as the imperfection is noticed, you will help prevent further damage.
For products containing ceramics, check to see if any of the ceramic is damaged or missing before storage. If you do notice anything, you can fill the hole or damaged area with adhesive.
Following these storage recommendations, along with diligence in product inspection, will help keep your Argonics products in use for years to come.
Tags: chemistry, hydrolysis, polyurethane, urethane