Recent advancements in manufacturing technologies of microcellular polymers: a review


Significant research efforts are being pursued by numerous plastic foaming industries towards the transformation of macrocellular polymer foam to microcellular and imminent future is trending towards nanocellular polymer foams. These novel foamed plastic possess enhanced properties and easy tunability which could potentially fulfill many of the ever-evolving industrial requirements. These industrial requirements have led to several advancements in the current manufacturing technologies and as a result, new industrial-scale production technologies are being researched upon cellular plastics and its allied composites. The microcellular polymeric foams have huge industrial demand due to their improved properties such as specific strength, energy absorption, and thermal/electrical/acoustic insulation compared to their unfoamed counterparts. This review article aims to summarise the existing manufacturing technologies for producing microcellular polymers and provide an up-to-date report on the recent advancements in these manufacturing technologies.

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Chemical blowing agent


Physical blowing agent


Coupling agent


Nucleating agent


Chemical surfactants

CO2 :

Carbon dioxide

ScCO2− :

Supercritical CO2

N2 :













Polymethyl methacrylate


Low-Density Polyethylene


High-Density Polyethylene


Polyvinyl alcohol


Polyethylene glycol


Poly (lactic acid)




Poly-L-lactide-co-D, L-lactide


Poly (D, L lactic acid)


Poly (vinyl chloride)




Polyvinyl alcohol


Poly (ethylene oxide)


Poly (butylenes succinate)


Poly (ethylene terephthalate glycol)


Poly (ε-caprolactone)


Polyvinyl alcohol


Polyvinylidene fluoride






Poly (methyl methacrylate)-poly (butyl acrylate)-poly (methyl methacrylate)




Water-borne polyurethane


Zinc stearate








2-ethyl hexanol






Chitosan nanofibers






Maleic anhydride- grafted styrene–ethylene–butylene–styrene


Maleic anhydride-grafted polypropylene


Ammonium polyphosphate


Maleated PP


Sodium bicarbonate


Sodium chloride


Hydrochloric Acid


Sodium Hydroxide


Carbon black


Activated carbon


Carbon nanotubes


Carbon nanofibers




Graphene oxide


Graphene Nano composite


Graphene nanoribbons


Graphene nanoplatelets


Graphene sheets


Functionalized graphene sheets


Multi-wall carbon nanotube


Functionalized MWCNT


Stainless-steel fiber

ZrO2 :



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Financial assistance has been received from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India under the project titled “Development of Microcellular & Nanocellular 3D Printing Process to Manufacturing Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Foamed Products”.

Grant order: DST/TDT/AMT/2017/092 (G).

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Correspondence to Rupesh Dugad.

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Dugad, R., Radhakrishna, G. & Gandhi, A. Recent advancements in manufacturing technologies of microcellular polymers: a review. J Polym Res 27, 182 (2020).

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  • Microcellular
  • Ultrasound-aided foaming
  • Bimodal foaming
  • EMI shielding
  • Wood fiber composites
  • Porous foam