Polymer foam, including hard and soft foam, is composed of a variety of macromolecules, such as polystyrene, ethylene vinyl acetate, polyimide, melamine formaldehyde, phenol-formaldehyde, PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene and polyurethane. These foams are used in different applications due to weight and price as well as chemical and physical compatibility limitations.
In these polymer foams, porous PUR and phenolic materials are usually used for building insulation. However, people are increasingly concerned about the environmental problems of using these polymer foams, so it is necessary to find bio-based alternatives.
Tannin-based bio-derived foam is increasingly considered a suitable substitute for porous PUR and phenolic foam. In recent years, the design and production of tannin-based foam have attracted considerable attention.
Rigid polymer foam
The production of rigid porous materials mainly relies on polymers derived from isocyanates with N=C=O functional groups, such as PUR. PUR is a type of polymer obtained through the addition of amino ester units.
Catalysts can be used to control specific foaming properties, delay reactions for certain applications, or enhance reactions with lower reactivity. In contrast, foaming agents can be used for the expansion of polymer matrices.
Crosslinking agents, flame retardants, and surfactants are commonly used additives in PUR formulations. In addition, it is clear to use additives such as fibers to improve the dimensional stability and strength of the matrix.
Due to the diversity of PUR formulations, PUR foam has a wide range of fire resistance, water absorption, and thermal and mechanical properties. These foams are used as insulation materials for heaters, buildings, and auto parts.
- Phenolic formula
PF or polyphenol foam is obtained by polymerization of phenolic monomer and aldehyde (especially formaldehyde). Initially, a crosslinking reaction occurred between aldehydes and phenolic compounds, followed by foaming of the polymer mixture.
Epoxy resin or biological resources can be added to the PF formula to improve the performance of PF foam. However, over time, the acidic vapor released by PF foam will corrode adjacent metals, which limits their use in practical applications.
Application of Bio-based Reagents in Polymer Foam
PUR foam from several biological sources was developed by replacing petroleum-based reagents. For example, vegetable oils such as sunflower seed oil, soybean oil, palm oil, and lignin-derived compounds are used as substitutes for polyols.
The final quality of foam mainly depends on its rheological, thermal, and mechanical properties, which in turn rely on the selection of crosslinking agent and precursor. In addition, selecting appropriate processing methods and gas and foaming methods, including physical foaming, mechanical foaming, and chemical foaming, is also crucial for obtaining the final material with satisfactory performance.
Blowing agents for plastics for building insulation and its environmental friendliness
Blowing agents for plastics are a type of foaming agent used in plastic production, which forms tiny bubbles during the processing of plastics, thereby improving their insulation performance. Due to its excellent insulation effect, it can be used for building insulation.
Using environmentally friendly blowing agents for plastics for building insulation can not only improve the insulation performance of buildings but also reduce their impact on the environment. It is an essential component of green buildings and sustainable development. Therefore, using environmentally friendly blowing agents for plastics is a good choice.
Application examples of blowing agents for plastics in building insulation
Building exterior wall insulation: Using plastic sheets or membranes containing blowing agents for plastics as building exterior wall materials can effectively isolate heat transfer inside and outside the room, improving the insulation performance of the building. This material can not only be used for new buildings but also for energy-saving renovations of existing buildings.
Roof insulation: Applying plastic sheets or membranes containing blowing agents for plastics to roof insulation can reduce indoor temperature fluctuations and reduce energy consumption. This material can also be combined with solar panels to achieve energy conservation and the utilization of renewable energy.
Window insulation: Using plastic film materials containing blowing agents for plastics as the insulation material for windows can block heat exchange between indoor and outdoor environments and improve the insulation performance of windows. This material can be used in conjunction with other insulation materials, such as insulating glass, to enhance the insulation effect of windows further.
Pipeline insulation: Using plastic foam materials containing blowing agents for plastics for insulation on heating or cooling pipelines in buildings can reduce heat loss in pipelines and improve energy efficiency.
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