Applications for foamed plastics continue to expand and diversify. Along with the growing market for lightweight extruded polystyrene (XPS) and low-density polyurethane (PUR) foams, there is growing interest in inexpensive alternatives to flammable pentane and butane blowing agents. Linde solutions for XPS and PUR foaming include inert, non-flammable blowing agents (typically CO2), as well as appropriate inert gas supply systems, pressurization units, and metering systems.
Precision CO2 metering is at the heart of high-efficiency foaming systems and can enhance the quality production of open-cellular, closed-cellular, and integral foams. On the state-of-the-art Linde DSD 500 high-pressure metering system, a dynamic control valve automatically adjusts the volume of the inert gas to the pressure conditions in the extruder. Precision metering contributes to better process stability, more homogenous foam cell-structure and significantly lower blowing agent costs.
5 Major Drivers for Market Growth in Plastics Foams:
- Lightweight Products
- Reduced Costs and Materials
- Heat and Sound Insulation
- Mechanical Damping / Cushioning
- Low Vapor Permeability
Major Markets: Packaging, construction insulation, sound insulation, upholstery.
Inert-gas blowing agents are metered into the plastic melt during foam extrusion or injection-molded foaming, or supplied to either the polyol or isocyanate during polyurethane foaming. Carbon dioxide is preferred over N2 because of its high solubility in polymers, especially important for producing low density foams. Unlike hydrocarbon blowing agents, inert gases leave no residue, which can contribute to foam and surface defects.
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