From Plastics Wiki, free encyclopedia
Generally, a urethane is an ester of a carbamic acid (RNHCOOQ, where R and Q represent many different organic compounds). Many can be created by an isocyanate reaction with a hydroxyl group of an alcohol (or other hydroxy containing compound) according to the following formula:
H / R-N R-N=C=O + H-O-Q → \ C=O / Q-O
Although this reaction had been known for some decades, it was not until 1937 that Otto Bayer discovered how to make the very useful polyurethane plastics out of polyisocyanate and polyol (a molecule with multiple hydroxyl groups), (see Polyurethane). There are many other more specialized ways to make urethanes.
Urethanes are used in pharmaceuticals, (bio)chemical analysis and plastics.
Urethane is also widely used in skateboard and in-line skate wheel production, effectively replacing the clay wheel used before that.
It has been demonstrated to be a carcinogen in rats and mice.