Urethane vs. Rubber

If you’re looking for superior abrasion, cut, and tear resistance, look beyond rubber to urethane. Urethane also boasts higher load-bearing capacity, better compression set, and superior tolerance to greases, oils, oxygen, and ozone. Because rubber is biodegradable, it tends to rot and degrade over time with exposure to the elements. But, man-made urethane can be easily formulated to outlast rubber and stand up to sunlight and outdoor environments. Additionally, most cast urethanes are available in grades that range from clear, to opaque, to amber. That means they can be mixed with a variety of dyes and pigments making it easy to color code parts. In fact, urethane rollers and belts used in print machinery are often color coded to simplify maintenance and ensure proper replacement. Finally, rubbers that are compounded to 90 or 95A durometer have compromised physical properties. Just the opposite is true of polyurethanes which maintain their properties and superior performance characteristics regardless of hardness.


  • Abrasion-resistant: combines high cut and tear resistance with high modulus
  • High load bearing: resists deformation under high pressure with low creep and compression set properties
  • Wide durometer range: 10 shore A – 80 shore D
  • Ozone-resistant/oxygen-resistant: more resistant to sunlight and weather
  • Clarity/translucence: available in grades that are completely clear
  • Pigment receptive: also accepts a wide variety of pigments and dyes making it possible to color-code components
  • Semi-conductive: minimizes the incidence and severity of electrostatic discharge (ESD)
To learn more about how polyurethane can improve your product performance, including how it compares to rubbers, plastics and metals, download our white paper.

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