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Polymers (Basel). 2019 Feb 1;11(2). pii: E226. doi: 10.3390/polym11020226.

Improving the Supercritical CO₂ Foaming of Polypropylene by the Addition of Fluoroelastomer as a Nucleation Agent.

Yang C1,2,3, Zhao Q4, Xing Z5, Zhang W6,7, Zhang M8,9, Tan H10,11, Wang J12, Wu G13,14.

Author information

1
Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jialuo Road 2019, Jiading, Shanghai 201800, China. yangchenguang@sinap.ac.cn.
2
University of China Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China. yangchenguang@sinap.ac.cn.
3
School of Physical Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Haike Road 100, Pudong, Shanghai 201210, China. yangchenguang@sinap.ac.cn.
4
Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jialuo Road 2019, Jiading, Shanghai 201800, China. zhaoquan@htkjbattery.com.
5
Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jialuo Road 2019, Jiading, Shanghai 201800, China. xingzhe@sinap.ac.cn.
6
Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jialuo Road 2019, Jiading, Shanghai 201800, China. zhangwenli@sinap.ac.cn.
7
University of China Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China. zhangwenli@sinap.ac.cn.
8
Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jialuo Road 2019, Jiading, Shanghai 201800, China. zhangmaojiang@sinap.ac.cn.
9
School of Physical Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Haike Road 100, Pudong, Shanghai 201210, China. zhangmaojiang@sinap.ac.cn.
10
Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jialuo Road 2019, Jiading, Shanghai 201800, China. tanhairong@sinap.ac.cn.
11
School of Physical Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Haike Road 100, Pudong, Shanghai 201210, China. tanhairong@sinap.ac.cn.
12
Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jialuo Road 2019, Jiading, Shanghai 201800, China. wangjixiang@sinap.ac.cn.
13
Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jialuo Road 2019, Jiading, Shanghai 201800, China. wuguozhong@sinap.ac.cn.
14
School of Physical Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Haike Road 100, Pudong, Shanghai 201210, China. wuguozhong@sinap.ac.cn.

Abstract

In this study, a small amount of fluoroelastomer (FKM) was used as a nucleating agent to prepare well-defined microporous PP foam by supercritical CO₂. It was observed that solid FKM was present as the nanoscale independent phase in PP matrix and the FKM could induce a mass of CO₂ aggregation, which significantly enhanced the diffusion rate of CO₂ in PP. The resultant PP/FKM foams exhibited much smaller cell size (~24 μm), and more than 16 times cell density (3.2 × 10⁸ cells/cm³) as well as a much more uniform cell size distribution. PP/FKM foams possessed major concurrent enhancement in their tensile stress and compressive stress compared to neat PP foam. We believe that the added FKM played a key role in enhancing the heterogeneous nucleation, combined with the change of local strain in the multiple-phase system, which was responsible for the considerably improved cell morphology of PP foaming. This work provides a deep understanding of the scCO₂ foaming behavior of PP in the presence of FKM.

KEYWORDS:

fluoelastomer; heterogeneous nucleation; polypropylene; scCO2 foaming

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