Modeling the dynamics of reactive foaming and film thinning in polyurethane foams



Flexible polyurethane foams are widely used in cushioning and packaging applications. A model for the dynamics of formation of polyurethane foams is presented, which includes thinning of foam lamellae. Experimental measurements for water blown flexible foam formulations at different water concentrations are presented to validate the model. Adiabatic temperature rise measurements during foaming are used to obtain the kinetic parameters of the reactions of isocyanate with polyol and water. The variation of foam density during foaming is studied by weight loss and video shooting methods and both are compared to estimate the amount of blowing gas lost during foaming. The average thickness of the foam lamellae of the solid foam is obtained by SEM measurements. The predictions of the model show good agreement with the experimental measurements of temperature and density with time and the final lamellar thickness. The results are important for understanding the cell opening process. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010