Polyurethane: green chemistry synthesis, application and biodegradability - A review

Nur Izzati Mohd Razali, Fathilah Ali, Azlin Suhaida Azmi, Tuan Noor Maznee Tuan Ismail, Hazleen Anuar, Jamarosliza Jamaluddin


Polyurethane (PU) is a type of material that links polymer diols and the isocyanate group. PUs can be functionalized to desired properties by introducing appropriate isocyanates and polyols. PUs can also be made biodegradable by incorporating plant-based polyols. The overview of isocyanates and polyols used in PUs is discussed in this paper. Typically, the synthesis of PUs is through conventional methods. However, the conventional method is both time and energy consuming hence a less time-consuming method which is known as microwave-assisted synthesis is discussed in this review. On the other hand, PUs has been used extensively in various applications such as coatings, automotive parts, biomedical field, and many more hence it will lead to pollution. Thus, the degradability of polymers is also discussed. This review provides insights into the microwave-assisted synthesis of polyurethane and various applications of PUs.


Green chemistry; microwave-assisted synthesis; polyurethane; biodegradable polymer; polyol

Full Text:



Parker L. Facts About Plastic Pollution. Natl Geogr Mag 2018.

Furtwengler P, Boumbimba RM, Avérous L. Elaboration and Characterization of Advanced Biobased Polyurethane Foams Presenting Anisotropic Behavior. Macromol Mater Eng 2018;303:1–11.

Akindoyo JO, Beg MDH, Ghazali S, Islam MR, Jeyaratnam N, Yuvaraj AR. Polyurethane types, synthesis and applications-a review. RSC Adv 2016;6:114453–82.

Haryono A, Triwulandari E, Sondari D, Randy A, Ridwanuloh AM. Control of Biodegradability of Polyurethane Foam Based on Palm Oil by Ratio of Soft Segment on the Polymer Backbone. J Biotek 2005:11–7.

Ismail MN, Rafidi N, Awale RJ, Ali F. Preparation and characterization of polylactic acid based polyurethane for environmental friendly packaging materials. J Adv Res Fluid Mech Therm Sci 2017;38:16–21.

Obi BE. Polymer Chemistry and Synthesis. Polym Foam Struct 2018:17–40.

Sonnenschein MF. Polyurethanes: Science, Technology, Markets, and Trends. Polyurethanes Sci Technol Mark Trends 2014;9781118737:1–417.

Ali FB, Ismail N. Polymerization Methods and Characterizations for Poly(Lactic Acid) (PLA) Based Polymers. Multifaceted Protoc Biotechnol 2018:139–50.

Dechy-Cabaret O, Martin-Vaca B, Bourissou D. Controlled ring-opening polymerization of lactide and glycolide. Chem Rev 2004;104:6147–76.

Bakibaev AA, Gazaliev AM, Kabieva SK, Fedorchenko VI, Guba GY, Smetanina EI, et al. Polymerization of Lactic Acid Using Microwave and Conventional Heating. Procedia Chem 2015;15:97–102.

Tucker JL. Green chemistry: Cresting a summit toward sustainability. Org Process Res Dev 2010.

Gedye R, Smith F, Westaway K, Ali H, Baldisera L, Laberge L, et al. The use of microwave ovens for rapid organic synthesis. Tetrahedron Lett 1986;27:279–82.

Giguere RJ, Bray TL, Duncan SM, Majetich G. Application of commercial microwave ovens to organic synthesis. Tetrahedron Lett 1986;27:4945–8.

Kappe CO. Controlled microwave heating in modern organic synthesis. Angew Chemie - Int Ed 2004;43:6250–84.

Kappe CO. High-speed combinatorial synthesis utilizing microwave irradiation. Curr Opin Chem Biol 2002;6:314–20.

Mavandadi F, Pilotti Å. The impact of microwave-assisted organic synthesis in drug discovery. Drug Discov Today 2006;11:165–74.

Sosnik A, Gotelli G, Abraham GA. Microwave-assisted polymer synthesis (MAPS) as a tool in biomaterials science: How new and how powerful. Prog Polym Sci 2011;36:1050–78.

Mallakpour S, Rafiee Z. New developments in polymer science and technology using combination of ionic liquids and microwave irradiation. Prog Polym Sci 2011;36:1754–65.

Nagahata R, Sano D, Suzuki H, Takeuchi K. Microwave-assisted single-step synthesis of poly(lactic acid) by direct polycondensation of lactic acid. Macromol Rapid Commun 2007;28:437–42.

Biswas A, Appell M, Liu Z, Cheng HN. Microwave-assisted synthesis of cyclodextrin polyurethanes. Carbohydr Polym 2015;133:74–9.

Biswas A, Kim S, Gómez A, Buttrum M, Boddu V, Cheng HN. Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of Sucrose Polyurethanes and Their Semi-interpenetrating Polymer Networks with Polycaprolactone and Soybean Oil. Ind Eng Chem Res 2018;57:3227–34.

Masinga SP, Nxumalo EN, Mamba BB, Mhlanga SD. Microwave-induced synthesis of β-cyclodextrin/N-doped carbon nanotube polyurethane nanocomposites for water purification. Phys Chem Earth 2014;67–69:105–10.

You D, Liang H, Mai W, Zeng R, Tu M, Zhao J, et al. Microwave-assisted functionalization of polyurethane surface for improving blood compatibility. J Ind Eng Chem 2013;19:1587–92.

Iqbal N, Tripathi M, Parthasarathy S, Kumar D, Roy PK. Aromatic versus Aliphatic: Hydrogen Bonding Pattern in Chain-Extended High-Performance Polyurea. ChemistrySelect 2018;3:1976–82.

Prisacariu C. Polyurethane Elastomers : From Morphology to Mechanical Aspects. Polyurethane Elastomers From Morphol to Mech Asp 2011.

Petrović ZS, Zhang W, Zlatanić A, Lava CC, Ilavský M. Effect of OH/NCO molar ratio on properties of soy-based polyurethane networks. J Polym Environ 2002;10:5–12.

Petrović ZS, Ferguson J. Polyurethane elastomers. Prog Polym Sci 1991;16:695–836.

Hepburn C. Property-Structure Relationships in Polyurethanes 1992:51–106.

Zhang Y, Wang J, Fang X, Liao J, Zhou X, Zhou S, et al. High solid content production of environmentally benign ultra-thin lignin-based polyurethane films: Plasticization and degradation. Polymer (Guildf) 2019.

Dworakowska S, Bogdal D, Prociak A. Microwave-assisted synthesis of polyols from rapeseed oil and properties of flexible polyurethane foams. Polymers (Basel) 2012;4:1462–77.

Ghasemlou M, Daver F, Ivanova EP, Adhikari B. Polyurethanes from seed oil-based polyols: A review of synthesis, mechanical and thermal properties. Ind Crops Prod 2019;142:111841.

Tan ACW, Polo-Cambronell BJ, Provaggi E, Ardila-Suárez C, Ramirez-Caballero GE, Baldovino-Medrano VG, et al. Design and development of low cost polyurethane biopolymer based on castor oil and glycerol for biomedical applications. Biopolymers 2018;109:1–10.

Zhang C, Kessler MR. Bio-based polyurethane foam made from compatible blends of vegetable-oil-based polyol and petroleum-based polyol. ACS Sustain Chem Eng 2015;3:743–9.

Ooi T, Salmiah a, Hazimah A, Chong Y. An overview of R&D in palm oil-based polyols and polyurethanes in MPOB. Palm Oil Dev 2006;44:1–7.

Hanzah NA, Noor T, Tuan M, Adnan S, Noor NM, Polyols PO. Development of Palm Oil- based Polyols and Polyurethane Products in MPOB 2019;71:13–7.

Hazimah AH, Hoong SS, Mohd Norhisham S, Tuan Noor Maznee TI, Friebel S, Philipp C, et al. Palm-Based Polyol for Adhesive. MPOB Inf Ser 2005:MPOB TT No. 277.

Mohd Norhisham S, Tuan Noor Maznee TI, Nurul Ain H, Kosheela Devi PP, Srihanum A, Norhayati MN, et al. Soft polyurethane elastomers with adhesion properties based on palm olein and palm oil fatty acid methyl ester polyols. Int J Adhes Adhes 2017;73:38–44.

Acik G, Karabulut HRF, Altinkok C, Karatavuk AO. Synthesis and characterization of biodegradable polyurethanes made from cholic acid and L-lysine diisocyanate ethyl ester. Polym Degrad Stab 2019;165:43–8.

Macalino AD, Salen VA, Reyes LQ. Castor Oil Based Polyurethanes: Synthesis and Characterization. IOP Conf Ser Mater Sci Eng 2017;229.

Pawlik H, Prociak A. Influence of Palm Oil-Based Polyol on the Properties of Flexible Polyurethane Foams. J Polym Environ 2012;20:438–45.

Nurul ‘Ain H, Maznee TITN, Norhayati MN, Noor MAM, Adnan S, Devi PPK, et al. Natural Palm Olein Polyol as a Replacement for Polyether Polyols in Viscoelastic Polyurethane Foam. JAOCS, J Am Oil Chem Soc 2016;93:983–93.

Adnan S, Tuan Noor MTI, Ain NH, Devi KPP, Mohd NS, Shoot Kian Y, et al. Impact of the hard-segment concentration on highly resilient polyurethane foams based on palm olein polyol. J Appl Polym Sci 2017;134:1–10.

McEvoy JT. Advances in polyurethane foam property control. SAE Tech Pap 2001.

Beyler CL, Hirschler MM. Thermal Decomposition of Polymers. Chem Mater 2011;23:3495–508.

Bhuvaneswari. G H. Degradability of Polymers. Elsevier Inc.; 2018.

Murata K, Hirano Y, Sakata Y, Uddin MA. Basic study on a continuous flow reactor for thermal degradation of polymers. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 2002;65:71–90.

Park JW, Oh SC, Lee HP, Kim HT, Yoo KO. A kinetic analysis of thermal degradation of polymers using a dynamic method. Polym Degrad Stab 2000;67:535–40.

Bartolome L, Imran M, Gyoo B, A. W, Hyun D. Recent Developments in the Chemical Recycling of PET. Mater Recycl - Trends Perspect 2012.

Yang W, Dong Q, Liu S, Xie H, Liu L, Li J. Recycling and Disposal Methods for Polyurethane Foam Wastes. Procedia Environ Sci 2012;16:167–75.

Sendijarevicy V. Chemical recycling of mixed polyurethane foam stream recovered from shredder residue into polyurethane polyols. J Cell Plast 2007;43:31–46.

Zia KM, Bhatti HN, Ahmad Bhatti I. Methods for polyurethane and polyurethane composites, recycling and recovery: A review. React Funct Polym 2007;67:675–92.

Pandey JK, Takagi H, Nakagaito AN, Saini DR, Ahn SH. An overview on the cellulose based conducting composites. Compos Part B Eng 2012;43:2822–6.

Doǧan Atik I, Özen B, TIhmInlIoǧlu F. Water vapour barrier performance of corn-zein coated polypropylene (PP) packaging films. J Therm Anal Calorim 2008;94:687–93.

Leja K, Lewandowicz G. Polymer biodegradation and biodegradable polymers - A review. Polish J Environ Stud 2010;19:255–66.

Anderson JM, Rodriguez A, Chang DT. Foreign body reaction to biomaterials. Semin Immunol 2008;20:86–100.

Bleile H, Rodgers SD. Marine Coatings. Encycl. Mater. Sci. Technol., 2001, p. 5174–85.

Szycher M. Szycher’s handbook of polyurethanes: Second edition. 2012.

Hazimah AH, Kosheela Devi PP, Tuan Noor Maznee TI, Mohd Norhisham S, Hoong SS, Yeong SK, et al. Palm-based Polyols and Polyurethanes : Two Decades of Experience. Oil Palm Bull 2011;63:33–42.

Miller LJ, Sawyer-Beaulieu S, Tam E. Impacts of Non-Traditional Uses of Polyurethane Foam in Automotive Applications at End of Life. SAE Int J Mater Manuf 2014;7:711–8.

Peng P, Ding S, Wang Z, Zhang Y, Pan J. Acute effect of engineered thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer knockoff running footwear on foot loading and comfort during heel-to-toe running. Gait Posture 2020;79:111–6.

Lehle K, Stock M, Schmid T, Schopka S, Straub RH, Schmid C. Cell-type specific evaluation of biocompatibility of commercially available polyurethanes. J Biomed Mater Res - Part B Appl Biomater 2009;90 B:312–8.

Takahara A, Tashita J ichi, Kajiyama T, Takayanagi M, MacKnight WJ. Microphase separated structure, surface composition and blood compatibility of segmented poly(urethaneureas) with various soft segment components. Polymer (Guildf) 1985;26:987–96.

Han J, Cao RW, Chen B, Ye L, Zhang AY, Zhang J, et al. Electrospinning and biocompatibility evaluation of biodegradable polyurethanes based on L -lysine diisocyanate and L -lysine chain extender. J Biomed Mater Res - Part A 2011;96 A:705–14.

Pereira IHL, Ayres E, Patrício PS, Góes AM, Gomide VS, Junior EP, et al. Photopolymerizable and injectable polyurethanes for biomedical applications: Synthesis and biocompatibility. Acta Biomater 2010;6:3056–66.

Wang W, Wang C. Polyurethane for biomedical applications: A review of recent developments. Elsevier Masson SAS.; 2012.

Vermette P, Griesser HJ, Laroche G, Guidoin R. I NTELLIGENCE U NIT 6 Biomedical Applications of Polyurethanes. 2001.

Wiggins MJ, MacEwan M, Anderson JM, Hiltner A. Effect of soft-segment chemistry on polyurethane biostability during in vitro fatigue loading. J Biomed Mater Res - Part A 2004;68:668–83.

Cozzens D, Ojha U, Kulkarni P, Faust R, Desai S. Long term in vitro biostability of segmented polyisobutylene-based thermoplastic polyurethanes. J Biomed Mater Res - Part A 2010;95:774–82.

Kang J, Erdodi G, Brendel CM, Ely D, Kennedy JP. Polyisobutylene-based polyurethanes. V. oxidative-hydrolytic stability and biocompatibility. J Polym Sci Part A Polym Chem 2010;48:2194–203.

Ward R, Anderson J, McVenes R, Stokes K. In vivo biostability of polyether polyurethanes with fluoropolymer and polyethylene oxide surface modifying endgroups; resistance to metal ion oxidation. J Biomed Mater Res - Part A 2007.

Chou CW, Hsu SH, Chang H, Tseng SM, Lin HR. Enhanced thermal and mechanical properties and biostability of polyurethane containing silver nanoparticles. Polym Degrad Stab 2006;91:1017–24.

Hsu SH, Chou CW. Enhanced biostability of polyurethane containing gold nanoparticles. Polym Degrad Stab 2004;85:675–80.

Stachelek SJ, Alferiev I, Ueda M, Eckels EC, Gleason KT, Levy RJ. Prevention of polyurethane oxidative degradation with phenolic antioxidants covalently attached to the hard segments: Structure-function relationships. J Biomed Mater Res - Part A 2010;94:751–9.

Guelcher SA. Biodegradable polyurethanes: Synthesis and applications in regenerative medicine. Tissue Eng - Part B Rev 2008;14:3–17.

Tae Moon H, Lee YK, Koo Han J, Byun Y. A novel formulation for controlled release of heparin-DOCA conjugate dispersed as nanoparticles in polyurethane film. Biomaterials 2001;22:281–9.

Chen Y, Wang R, Wang Y, Zhao W, Sun S, Zhao C. Heparin-mimetic polyurethane hydrogels with anticoagulant, tunable mechanical property and controllable drug releasing behavior. Int J Biol Macromol 2017;98:1–11.

Hafeman AE, Zienkiewicz KJ, Carney E, Litzner B, Stratton C, Wenke JC, et al. Local delivery of tobramycin from injectable biodegradable polyurethane scaffolds. J Biomater Sci Polym Ed 2010;21:95–112.

Kenawy ER, Al-Deyab S, El-Newehy MH. Controlled release of 5-Aminosalicylic acid (5-asa) from new biodegradable polyurethanes. Molecules 2010;15:2257–68.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Call for Submissions

We welcome submissions for the coming issue that will be officially published in March 2022. We are committed to providing results of reviewing within two weeks, and publishing the paper within one month from the submission date (subjected to responses by authors). This means accepted papers will be available online even before the issue is published officially.

Publons Partners

Journal of Polymer Science and Technology (JPST) is now one of Publons Partners. This means biodata of reviewers in Publons will be automatically updated once reviewing on articles submitted to JPST is completed (subjected to terms and conditions).

How to promote journal articles

Promoting your journal article is imperative to maximise the exposure, enhance the discoverability and increase engagement with readers and other academics. Together with the publisher, as an author, you can help to promote your newly published articles via the following:

1) Institutional webpage.
Provide the link of your latest article in your institutional website. The webpage visitors who view your profile will be able to see your latest research and publications.

2) Social media.
The rise of the social media has also profoundly affected the publishing fraternity. More and more users have chosen the social media platforms as a way of sharing. Social media sharing helps foster convenient dissemination of information, which can be achieved within a short time. You can share your article in major online social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on.

3) Utilise scholarly networking and reference platforms.
A scholarly or academic networking platforms such as Academia.edu, MyNetResearch, ResearchGate, Mendeley and so on are indeed useful as they help bring scholars of common areas of expertise close together.

4) Press Releases.
If your article involves a new, significant or important discovery, consider linking up with media organisations for a press release. This brings your work to the mainstream media.

5) Blog.
If you keep a personal blog, you can get your blog readers updated with the list of your most recently published articles and the development in your area of research. Linking your article in your personal blog can vastly enhance the discoverability. Discuss briefly about the article and how the users might benefit from it.

6) Add to reading list or assignment.
Add your article (or the journal your article is published) as essential reading to your students. You may also create related assignments, e.g. review of the article, or have them discussed about the write up in class.

7) Add to your signature.
Announce your latest publication underneath your signature. Provide a link where the article can be downloaded/viewed.