Production of Polystyrene Open-celled Microcellular Foam in Batch Process by Super Critical CO2
Open-celled foams are capable to allow the passage of fluids through their structure, because of interconnections between the open cells or bubbles and therefore these structures can be used as a membrane and filter. In this work, we have studied the production of polystyrene open-celled microcellular foam by using CO2 as blowing agent. To achieve such structures, it is necessary to control the stages of growth in such a way that the cells would connect to each other through the pores without any coalescence. The required processing condition to achieve open-celled structures is predictable by a model theory of opened-cell. This model suggests that at least a 130 bar saturation pressure and foaming time between 9 and 58 s are required for this system. The temperature range has been selected for to be both higher than polymer glass transition temperature and facilitating the foaming process. Experimental results in the batch foaming process has verified the model quite well. The SEM and mercury porousimetry tests show the presence of pores between the cells with open-celled structure. Experimental results show that by increasing the saturation pressure and the foaming temperature, there is a drop in the time required for open-celled structure formation. A 130 bar saturation pressure, 150o C foaming temperature and 60 s foaming time, suggest the attainment of open-celled microcellular foam based on polystyrene/CO2 system in the batch process.