Sailors Take to the Seas with Polyurethane
Believe it or not, polyurethane plays a large role in helping American sailors stay safe when it comes to life out on the high seas.
For quick trips in small craft and regular shore patrols, the United States armed forces often use rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs). The boats are lightweight, high-performance watercraft capable of quick maneuvers and travel at high speeds.
As the name implies, the boats have a rigid hull but also use an inflatable tube, often referred to as a “collar,” along the lip of the hull. The collar acts like a life jacket of sorts, helping the vessel maintain its buoyancy.
The inflatable collars can be made from a variety of materials, however, when it comes to military-grade application, polyurethane is often preferred. Polyurethane tubes can be made knife-strike resistant and sometimes bulletproof in specific applications. In tests conducted by the U.S. Navy, the average lifespan of a polyurethane tube was about eight years, three longer than other tested inflatable boating materials. In addition, polyurethane tubes had twice the puncture resistance of other tested materials – no small detail for those who put their life on the line every day.