Supercritical Fluids in Thermoplastics Foaming: Facts or Fallacies?

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Journal titleCellular Polymers
Pages199220; # of pages: 21
AbstractThe past two decades have seen extensive interests and efforts for developing processes based on supercritical fl uids (SCF). Microcellular foaming is one of these processes that take advantage of the unique properties of supercritical fl uids when they are used as physical foaming agents (PFA). In this technology, the emphasis has been mostly focused on inert gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen that both inherently provides very high cell densities and very small cell sizes. Incidentally the benign carbon dioxide is frequently considered as the panacea of PFA, in response notably to the environmental pressures related to the destruction of the ozone layer. Hydrofl uorocarbons (HFCs) have also been identifi ed as potential alternative agents for extruded polystyrene foam. Unfortunately, HFCs remain diffi cult to process at the high concentrations required to yield low-density foams. Surprisingly, the processing diffi culties occur when the pressures required for dissolving high HFCs concentrations reach the range located immediately above the critical pressure of the PFA used. PS/HFC systems have been well documented in terms of abnormal behaviors occurring as the foaming agent gets into the supercritical conditions, and similar observations have also been made for other SCF used for thermoplastic foaming. These observations are reported here, and attempts are made to link the supercritical nature of the fl uid to the PFA heterogeneities suspected under these conditions.
Publication date
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Industrial Materials Institute
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number53784
NPARC number15959394
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Record identifierebb9237f-77cf-4b89-8b7b-67fc153168bf
Record created2010-10-05
Record modified2016-05-09
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