Description: Building waste and disposable packaging are a major component in today's landfills. Most of these are structural or thermally insulative polymer foams that do not degrade over a long period of time. Currently, there is a push to replace these foams with thermoplastic or biodegradable foams that can either be recycled or composted. We propose the use of compostable soy-based polyurethane foams (PU) with kenaf core modifiers that will offer the desired properties with the ability to choose responsible end-of-life decisions. The effect of fillers is a critical parameter in investigating the thermal and mechanical properties along with its effect on biodegradability. In this work, foams with 5%, 10%, and 15% kenaf core content were created. Two manufacturing approaches were used: the free foaming used by spray techniques and the constrained expansion complementary to a mold cavity. Structure-property relations were examined using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), thermal conductivity, compression values, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), x-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), and automated multiunit composting system (AMCS). The results show that mechanical properties are reduced with the introduction of kenaf core reinforcement while thermal conductivity and biodegradability display a noticeable improvement. This shows that in application properties can be improved while establishing a responsible end-of-life choice.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Hoyt, Zachary