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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 6, 2013

Using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide for Physical Foaming of Advanced Polymer Materials

  • F. Wolff , L. Zirkel , S. Betzold , M. Jakob , V. Maier , F. Nachtrab , B. Ceron Nicolat , T. Fey and H. Münstedt


Foams from high performance polymers find more and more interest. The processes to generate them can be difficult, however. It is shown how physical foaming with CO2 can be used as a first step to assess the potentials of such materials. For investigations of such kind an autoclave on a laboratory scale which allows pressure variations up to 300 bars and temperatures up to 300°C was set up. The samples are saturated with supercritical carbon dioxide (s.c. CO2) which acts as a foaming agent. Depending on the process and material parameters different foam characteristics and cell morphologies were obtained and characterised. The potential of this method is demonstrated for two different classes of advanced polymer materials, thermoplastic fluoropolymers (FEP), and a silicone resin. In the case of the fluoropolymer, previously prepared films were foamed and the effects of various process parameters on the foam characteristics were investigated. Besides the general potential of foams from fluoropolymers, they are candidates for polymeric piezoelectric materials with a relatively high temperature stability. Silicone polymers possess some properties superior to common organic polymers. First results on the foaming behaviour of a silicone resin are presented.

Mail address: Helmut Münstedt, Institute of Polymer Materials, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Martensstr. 7, D-91058 Erlangen, Germany. E-mail:


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Received: 2011-01-18
Accepted: 2011-02-21
Published Online: 2013-04-06
Published in Print: 2011-09-01

© 2011, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich

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