What is Vulkollan Polyurethane?


Vulkollan® is one of the most powerful polyurethane elastomers to date and has become widely known for its high mechanical load bearing capacity, high tensile strength, and superior rebound capabilities.  It is generally used for highly demanding tasks such as in high load casters, high load conveyor rollers, valve seats, roller coaster wheels, etc.  Basically, Vulkollan® is used for applications with extreme dynamic demands.


Vulkollan® is an NDI based elastomer system that is produced by reacting polyols and NDI (1,5-naphthylene di-isocyanate) to create the prepolymer, and then the polyurethane elastomer is produced by reacting the prepolymer with either glycols or water.  When the prepolymer is reacted with glycols, a solid elastomer is produced and when the prepolymer is reacted with water cellular elastomers are produced.


Although Vulkollan® does hold incredible physical properties, it is an extremely costly material to work with.  In order to process Vulkollan®, a manufacturer has to adhere to implemented guidelines and also be licensed in order to sell under the Vulkollan® trademark.  Of course, this can drive costs up significantly when jobs are being quoted.


There are many substitutes for Vulkollan® that have hit the market over the years and hold the same or even better physical properties.  Many of these materials are much easier to work with and behave identically to Vulkollan®. Not only this, but they are much cheaper to produce and have much better UV resistance along with better stability and the ability to be pigmented (colored), which can be very important for certain applications.  See below for a comparison between Vulkollan® and some of its substitutes that we run:


High performance polyurethane table


The UHPU-A substitute (as seen above) is formulated using an aliphatic diisocyanate (PCL) based prepolymer and the UHPU-B substitute is formulated using a toluidine diisocyanate (TODI) based system.  As you can see, the PCL based substitute holds even better properties than Vulkollan® and the TODI substitute is almost neck and neck with Vulkollan®.


Now, the purpose of this post is not to bash Vulkollan® because it truly is an excellent material.  It has proven itself for many decades now and has become an industry staple.  However, it is not the king of elastomers anymore as there are many materials that have been formulated to perform at the same level or better.  These substitutes or replacement materials, as seen above, have also proven themselves, and many customers are switching to them because they perform just as well as Vulkollan® and are much cheaper to produce.


If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 248-486-6000 or send us an email. We are always willing to share our expertise and provide helpful knowledge.