Current Uses of Isocyanates
The global production of isocyanates amounts to more than six million tons and grows by 10 % to 15 % annually. Québec is not a producer of isocyanates but uses them in many industrial processes. A number of companies also prepare mixtures or distribute products containing these substances. The four main types of isocyanates used in Québec are toluene diisocyanate (TDI), diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI), hexamethylene diisocyanate(HDI) and isophorone diisocyanate(IPDI), including their monomer and oligomer forms. They are mainly used in the production of polyurethane.
Mixing isocyanates with copolymers allows producing a wide range of polymers with different properties. These properties command their industrial demand. For example, flexible and UV-resistent coatings containing the hexamethylene aliphatic diisocyanate radical (HDI) are widely used in auto body paint shops. TDI provides the required flexibility to products used in the soft foam industry, floor sealants, wood glues and construction adhesives.
MDI is also used by manufacturers of low and high density flexible foams, casters and producers of rigid foams and elastomers for the automobile industry. In addition, isocyanates are used as binders in wood particle panels, orhtopaedic plasters, foam, binding adhesives and in the vulcanization of certain rubbers. New isocyanate applications are permanently released on the market.
Table 3.0 compiles the most frequently used monomer and oligomer isocyanates in Québec and table 4.0 presents frequent uses in other countries but almost non-existent in Québec.
Main Uses of Monomer and Oligomer Isocyanates in Québec
Seldom Used Monoisocyanates in Québec
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