Thermodynamic Investigation of the Foaming Process in Polymer – Supercritical Fluid Systems
The Non Random Hydrogen Bonding (NRHB) equation-of-state was used to describe key thermodynamic phenomena that take place during the foaming of polymers with supercritical fluids. Also, porous polystyrene structures were prepared using supercritical CO2 as foaming agent at various pressure and temperature conditions that refer to constant amount of dissolved fluid (CO2) inside the polymer matrix, or to constant energy barrier for nucleation. The experimental results were discussed in the light of the aforementioned theoretical investigation and it was concluded that that the energy barrier for nucleation is the dominant factor in determining the morphology of the final porous structure, although other processing parameters, such as the foaming temperature (or pressure) and the amount of the dissolved fluid, may also influence the cell size.
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