The Urethane Blog

Polyurethane Use in Aerospace Market

Polyurethane polymer a vital component of the aerospace foam market

Industry Sector



14 July 2015


Amy Sandys

Type of News



The aerospace industry has long made use of various materials able to withstand high-powered performance in unusual or challenging environments: and foam is one such example of a material applicable across general, commercial and military aircraft alike. Polyethylene foam, metal foam and polyurethane foam are all able to maintain a steady performance through subjection to high temperatures, reduce air leakage into and out of the aircraft, act as a sound barrier to make the aircraft experience more pleasant and insulate against potentially harmful temperatures once the aircraft is airborne.

Polyurethane products in particular enjoy versatility unmatched by other materials available in the aircraft segment. With materials based on the polyurethane composition, such as insulation, aerospace-manufactured foams can be used for flight deck pads; passenger cabin walls; aircraft ceilings; overhead stowage; interior aircraft class dividers; aircraft galleys; and lavatories. Water-based polyurethane coatings can be used to paint the outside of aircraft, whilst polycarbonate or acrylic sheets have also found to be useful in the creation of aircraft passenger windowpanes, and wingtip-lens transparencies.

The variety of properties held by polyurethane foam lends it the distinctive edge above other aerospace-worthy materials. Composed of two polymer types, the rigid polymer foam created at the end of the chemical process has a mixture of useful indicators making it suitable for application across the aerospace industry. Insulating value, compressive strength, resistance of heat up to around 149 degree Celsius and its relative in-expense to produce is denoted from its polyisocyanurate formulation; its high density range and ability to vary in strength according to requirements is derived from the polyurethane formulations.Aerospace Foam Market

Heightened global industrialisation and a rise in the manufacturing industries of developing countries are expected to contribute to the overall global growth in the aerospace foam market. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.74% projected between 2015 and 2020, the current end value of $5246.44Mn (USD) suggests that the market will experience a steady growth during the forecast period. North America continues to lead the market in terms of market size, with a 47.82% market share in the aerospace foam industry recorded across 2014. With the US the key North American regional market benefitting from this current and continued dominance, the consumption and application rates of aerospace foam shows no sign of abating. However, industrialisation and heightened manufacturing in China is also expected to bolster their market infiltration. They are expected to become the fastest growing market for polyurethane foam in the Asia Pacific region as their aerospace industry grows.

Overall, the properties of polyurethane polymers see them as ideal for application in the aerospace industry. Commercial planes have benefitted hugely since their inclusion, and it is expected this model will be utilised as the global aerospace market continues to grow.

For more information on aerospace materials, see the latest reports: Aerospace Foam Market