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Information at a Glance     

General
  • Isocyanate is the functional group of atoms –N=C=O (1 nitrogen, 1 carbon, 1 oxygen), not to be confused with the cyanate functional group which is arranged as –O–C≡N.
  • Any organic compound which contains an isocyanate group may also be referred to in brief as an isocyanate.
  • An isocyanate may have more than one isocyanate group.
  • An isocyanate that has two isocyanate groups is known as a diisocyanate.
  •  Diisocyanates are manufactured for reaction with polyols in the production of polyurethanes.

Process

  • Isocyanate  is supplied in tank trucks or drums.

  • Once a container has been opened, care should be taken to exclude moisture.

  • The most favorable temperature for storage is 15-35°C.

  • If stored at higher temperatures, or if moisture is not excluded, an undesirable increase in viscosity will occur.

  • Below 20°C, solid crystals may form and settle out, which can alter the performance of the product.

  • The solid crystals contain pure MDI and in this solid form may exhibit the same dimerization characteristics as pure MDI.

  • Unless  prompt action is taken to melt  the product, subsequent dimerization will proceed and may deteriorate the clarity and assay of the product.

  • The shelf life of  Isocyanate  is six months if the temperature is maintained at 15-35°C and moisture is excluded.

Technology

  • Polyurethane spray technology is used for industrial applications such as belting for mining, pipe linings for handling abrasive slurries and as protective membranes in building.

  • The combination of toughness and high elasticity with the capability of forming seamless membranes is particularly useful in buildings where spray coatings are used to seal insulated flat roofs.

  • It provides a solvent-free ‘thick coating’, which combines excellent physical properties, including crack bridging and waterproofing properties as well as abrasion and chemical resistance.

Application

  • A number of different forms of isocyanates are used in industry with MDI (diphenyl methane di-isocyanate or methylene bisphenyl di- socyanate) and TDI (toluene diisocyanate)  being the most common.

  • TDI is used in the production of flexible foams but it is the most volatile of the common isocyanates, and gives off vapours at room temperatures which are likely to cause harm to health.

  • MDI, in various grades, is used to make foams, tough elastomers and flexible foams.

  • It is considerably less volatile than TDI, so when used at room temperature, is regarded as less hazardous. However, significant exposure can cause asthma, particularly  where it is sprayed or heated.

Market

  • MDI and TDI are major isocyanate varieties.
  •  China started the production of MDI and TDI in the 60's.
  •  Units with a capacity of several hundred tons a year were constructed in Dalian, Taiyuan and Changzhou using the technology developed by China itself.
  • Several MDI and TDI units have been introduced from abroad since the 80's.

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