Chemical Properties

Chemical Properties

Chemical resistance

When selecting a plastic for a specific application, the material’s resistance to the media that it can be expected to come into contact with and its resistance to environmental conditions are of major importance. Due to their widely varying chemical structure, Desmopan® grades can behave in very different ways towards chemicals. Polyether-based products display fundamentally different behavior from those based on polyesters, and hardness can also play a role. In addition to this, external conditions, such as temperature, concentration, and the duration of exposure to the media, will naturally also have a major impact. The table on the “Chemical resistance of DESMOPAN® grades” sets out guide values for this.

If the resistance of Desmopan® to mixtures of substances, in particular, is not clear, it is recommended that special tests be conducted, where the mechanical properties of test specimens are, for example, determined subsequent to aging in the medium in question. When Desmopan® comes into contact with chemicals, this generally results in swelling and/or chemical reactions, coupled with degradation of the material. The swelling involves the absorption of what are generally low-molecular substances by the TPU – a process which is reversible, since the molecule chains are not damaged. Dimensional changes can, however, occur, together with a deterioration of the mechanical properties. In extreme cases, the TPU will dissolve.

Acids and alkaline solutions

Desmopan® products are attacked and decomposed by concentrated acids and alkaline solutions even at room temperature; they display very limited resistance to acids and to alkaline solutions in low concentrations.

Saturated hydrocarbons

TPUs swell slightly in saturated hydrocarbons, such as diesel oil, isooctane, petroleum ether and kerosene, which can lead to a 20-30 % drop in their tear resistance. More flexible products swell to a greater extent than rigid products. The swelling is reversible.

Aromatic hydrocarbon

Such as benzene and toluene cause pronounced swelling and a reduction in mechanical properties even at room temperature.

Lubricating oils and greases

TPUs are stable, even at high temperatures (up to 100 °C, depending on their hardness) when in contact with the test oils ASTM 1, IRM-902 and IRM-903.

Many of the lubricants employed in practice, however, are preparations with additives that damage TPU. Immersion tests are essential here. Metallic soaps, in particular, are critical.


Aliphatic alcohols, such as ethanol and isopropanol, cause TPU to swell slightly. TPUs undergo pronounced swelling in ketones, such as acetone, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and cyclohexanone, and in aliphatic esters, such as ethyl acetate and butyl acetate. Polar organic solvents such as dimethyl formamide (DMF), dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), N-methylpyrrolidone and tetrahydrofurane (THF) dissolve TPU.

The Thermoplastics Testing Center (TTC) can carry out the following chemical resistance tests for you:

Chemical resistens test methods
ESC, bent strip test DIN EN ISO 22088-3
EN ISO 4599
DIN 53449-3
Internal stresses
PC ATI 104/86
Petrol test (isooctance/toluene)
Fuel resistance
DIN 51604-1
DBL 5416
Media aging, no load
DIN 53521
ISO 175

Microbial resistance

Under unfavorable conditions (hot climate, high humidity, soil contact), flexible polyester-based TPU can be attacked and decomposed by fungi and bacteria. The ester bonds are split by enzymes in the microorganisms, and low-molecular building blocks result. Attacks of this type are frequently visible in the form of discoloration and, subsequently, the formation of cracks in areas of the parts subjected to mechanical load. A certain amount of protection can be achieved through the addition of microbicides. Thermoplastic polyether-based polyurethanes and rigid polyester TPU are inherently resistant to microbe attacks.

Hydrolysis resistance

At high temperatures and with a high humidity, flexible TPUs based on polyesters display a certain susceptibility to hydrolysis. Water molecules then split the ester groups, and the molecular weight decreases considerably, thus leading to reduced mechanical properties. Flexible polyester TPUs rarely fail in practice. All the general-purpose Desmopan® grades contain effective stabilizers, which are not necessary for ether grades.

Radiation resistance

UV radiation

As with all polymers, TPUs are attacked by UV radiation. In the case of general-purpose products, this leads to clear yellowing at the surface; there is virtually no deterioration in the mechanical properties. TPUs based on aliphatic diisocyanates do not display any yellowing due to UV radiation.

The extent of yellowing and the impairment of the mechanical properties can be slowed down considerably through the addition of appropriate light stabilizers. Desmopan® grades that already contain these agents are available, as are masterbatches which can be added as and when required.

During weathering tests that run for prolonged periods, degradation phenomena due to UV radiation and hydrolysis can be superimposed on each other.

High-energy radiation

Desmopan® has outstanding resistance to α, β and γ radiation.

Ozone resistance

The ozone resistance of a material plays a key role in the rubber industry, since a large number of elastomers contain double bonds, which can be split by ozone with its strong oxidizing effect.

Desmopan® grades display very good resistance to ozone. No embrittlement is observed.

The Thermoplastics Testing Center (TTC) can carry out the following weathering tests for you:

Weathering test methods
ASTM G26 modified
DIN EN ISO 4892-2
SAE J2412 (J1885)
SAE J2527 (J1960)
VDA 75202
Xenotest® High Energy
DIN EN ISO 4892-2 
DIN EN 50014
Vehicle testing
various customer specifications
DIN EN ISO 4892-3
Spray tests
DIN 50021
DIN EN 9227
ISO 11503
Outdoor weathering
various locations

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