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Title

EFFECT OF STABILIZATION ON MORPHOLOGY POLYSTYRENE AND SUPERCRITICAL CARBON DIOXIDE THERMOPLASTIC FOAMS

Writers

 MOKHTARI MOTAMENI SHIRVAN MOZAFAR | NAVID FAMILI MOHAMAD HOSSEIN

Pages

 Start Page 505 | End Page 515

Abstract

 Microcellular thermoplastic foams can be usually produced in a one-step batch system using a physical foaming agent which is dissolved in a polymer system under specific pressure and TEMPERATURE, higher than the critical condition of solvent and the glass transition TEMPERATURE of polymer and solvent mixture. By application of a sudden pressure drop the foam structure is formed through stages of NUCLEATION, growth and coalescence. After pressure drop, if the foam TEMPERATURE is reduced below the glass transition of the gas-polymer mixture, the cells stop growing which results in a foam with stabilized morphology. This STABILIZATION stage has not been thoroughly focused in previous studies. In this work, polystyrene as a polymer system and supercritical carbon dioxide as a solvent were used at 18.5 MPa pressure and different TEMPERATUREs. The STABILIZATION process took place within milliseconds and helped to a better understanding of cellular structure in thermoplastic foams. In this mechanism, the NUCLEATION takes place in the phase transition of solvent molecules at supercritical state to the gas state and the formation of very small nuclei containing gas molecules between polymer chains. The energy originated from the nuclei growth is in competition with the elastic energy of polymer chains, and the predominance of one type of energy over another determines the final cell size. The results showed that the effect of STABILIZATION process on the structure of the foam depended on the foaming TEMPERATURE. STABILIZATION at 110°C resulted in a 50% cell size reduction and a 60% cell density promotion, while at lower TEMPERATUREs, the STABILIZATION led to greater cell size and reduced cell density.

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