Update on Mouldable Particle Foam Technology summarises the present status of particle foam technology and how specific challenges have already driven its development. This includes the potential threats to the fire retardants and blowing agents which have been used for many years.
The potential for particle foams made from "renewable" polymers such as starch, polylactic acid, polyhydroxyalkanoates and cellulosics is also covered. For each of these, existing technology is reviewed, together with the issues for research and development.
Update on Mouldable Particle Foam Technology is written by a plastics technologist who recently joined the EPS industry. It will be of interest to both relative newcomers and those who already have long experience but wish to know more technical detail about a fascinating branch of plastics technology.
2. Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) – A Mature Technology?
2.1 Brief Description of the Product and Processes
2.2 Developments in (Non-Halogen) Fire Retardation of EPS
2.3 Developments in Insulation Performance of EPS
2.4 Modification of Other Properties of EPS
2.4.1 Enhanced Temperature Resistance
2.4.2 Enhanced Cushioning Performance
2.5 Reduced Levels of EPS Blowing Agents and Alternatives
2.5.1 The Need to Reduce Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions
2.5.2 ‘Low-pentane’ EPS Developments
2.5.3 Alternative Blowing Agents
2.6 Developments in Making or Processing EPS Beads
2.6.1 Extrusion Processes for Bead Making
2.6.2 Foam Nucleation
2.6.3 Moulding of EPS
2.6.4 Recycling of EPS
3. Expanded Polyolefin Moulded Foams (EPE and EPP) – Materials with Growing Application
3.1 Key Features of Polyolefin Moulded Foams, Compared with EPS
3.2 Developments in Materials for EPP and EPE Manufacture
3.3 Developments in Processing of EPP and EPE
3.4 Development of Applications for Expanded Polyolefin Bead Products
4. ‘Sustainable’ Polymers – The Future?
4.1 Why Sustainable Polymers?
4.2 Polylactic Acid (PLA)
4.2.1 Production and Properties of PLA Polymers
4.2.2 Processing of PLA-based Beads – A Trend Towards Carbon Dioxide
4.2.3 Processing of PLA-based Beads – Interactions Between PLA and Carbon Dioxide
4.2.4 Processing of PLA-based Beads – Review of Recent Patents and Patent Applications
4.2.5 End-of-life Aspects of PLA Foam Products
4.3 Starch and Starch-based Foams
4.3.1 Production and Properties of Starch-based Polymers
4.3.2 Processing of Starch-based Foamable Beads
4.3.3 End-of-life Aspects of Starch-based Foam Products
4.4 Polyhydroxyalkanoates (Including Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and Copolymers)
4.4.1 Production and Properties of PHA Polymers
4.4.2 Blowing Agents and Processing of PHA Foamable Beads
4.4.3 End-of-life Aspects of PHA Foam Products
4.5 Cellulosic and Other Sustainable Polymers
5. Concluding Remarks – What Forces Will Drive Development in this Field?
There followed a period at Cookson Group Central Research, working closely with a number of Group companies to develop their products and technologies, and several years as Technical Manager of plastics recycler Synbra Polymers.
In 2004 he transferred to Synbra Technology bv in Holland to develop new EPS products and continues to work with them as a part-time consultant.