COLUMBUS, Ohio (Oct. 14)—Polyurethane elastomer usage accounted for just 4 percent of the total North American polyurethanes business in 2000, according to a recent survey. But several of the products using PU elastomers showed strong growth in the period since the previous survey done in 1998, according to Joanne Ulnick, partner with Ducker Research Co. Inc. This year, for the first time, the survey covered the PU market in Mexico as well as Canada and the U.S. One of the areas showing strong growth was the wheels and tires segment, which grew 17.1 percent in the two-year period, reaching 19,000 metric tons in 2000, she reported. Elastomer use, at 100,000 tons, was up 6.8 percent; thermoplastic PUs reached 49,000 tons, slightly ahead of 47,000 tons in 1998, while the use of polyurethanes in reaction injection molded items reached 76,000 tons, a rise of 27.3 percent, the Ducker data showed. The polyurethanes business remains dominated by foam applications, with flexible foams reaching 1.04 million tons, including 243,000 tons of molded products, and rigid foams hitting 1.46 million tons, up 5.5 percent on the 1998 total. The study was commissioned by the Alliance for the Polyurethanes Industry.