Polyurethane Composition with Enhanced Thermocompression Characteristics


Unmet Need: Challenges recycling and reprocessing polyurethane foams due to their thermoset behaviors

Polyurethane foams are thermosets and accordingly, at their useful end of life, it may be challenging to reuse or recycle such polyurethane foams. The reprocessing of polyurethane is usually a slow process, especially for those prepared from petroleum-based ether polyols. Though high processing temperatures (like 180 - 220 °C) can promote the network rearrangement and hence improve reprocessability, thermal degradation and decomposition of polyurethane likely occur at temperature > 160 °C.


The Technology: A polyurethane composition with thermoplastic-like malleability at lower temperatures, enhancing reprocessing

The inventors have developed a polyurethane composition that exhibits thermoplastic-like malleability at temperatures of 40~160 °C, whereas the petro-polyol based sheets retained their thermoset properties and displayed poor malleability at these temperatures. As such, these foams could be easily recycled through thermoplastic processing techniques. These sheets also retain strength after successive rounds of reprocessing, which is not practically feasible with petro-polyol based foams.



  • Vehicle interiors (seats, headliners, etc.)
  • Bedding, furniture, carpet underlay, packaging, etc.
  • Ideal for applications with high recycling/reprocessing rates


  • Lower temperatures required for thermocompression
  • Thermoplastic-like malleability exhibited by foam for recycling
  • Reprocessed sheet maintains mechanical properties, even after multiple rounds

Patent Information:

Provisional patent filed


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Punam Dalai
Technology Licensing Associate
Washington State University
Reference No: TECH-22/3467


Jinwen Zhang
Wangcheng Liu

Key Words