Effect of rubber on microcellular structures from high internal phase emulsion polymerization
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A microcellular foam, which combines a rubber with the conventional formulation of styrene/divinylbenzene/ sorbitan monooleate/water system, was prepared using high internal phase emulsion (HIPE) polymerization. Although the open microcellular foam with low density from the conventional HIPE polymerization shows highly porous characteristics with fine, regular and isotropic structure, the one having much smaller cell size is desirable for various applications. In this study, a polybutadiene was introduced to reduce the cell size with comparable properties. Major interests were focused on the effects of rubber concentration and agitation speed on the cell sizes and compression properties. Scanning electron microscopy was used to observe the microcellular morphology and compression tests were conducted to evaluate the stress-strain behaviors. It was found that the cell size decreased as rubber concentration increased, reflecting a competition between the higher viscosity of continuous phase and the lower viscosity ratio of dispersed to continuous phases due to the addition of high molecular weight rubber into the oil phase of emulsion. A correlation for the average cell size depending on agitation speed was attempted and the result was quite satisfactory.
Keywordsmicrocellular foam high internal phase emulsion (HIPE) polybutadiene cell size compression property.
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