Physical properties of water-blown rigid polyurethane foams containing epoxidized soybean oil in different isocyanate indices



To explore the potential of isocyanate usage reduction, water-blown rigid polyurethane foams were made by replacing 0, 20, and 50% of Voranoll® 490 in the B-side of the foam formulation by epoxidized soybean oil (ESBO) with an isocyanate index ranging from 50 to 110. The compressive strength, density, and thermal conductivity of foams were measured. The foam surface temperature was monitored before and throughout the foaming reaction as an indirect indication of the foaming temperature. Increasing ESBO replacement and/or decreasing isocyanate index decreased the foam's compressive strength. The density of the foam decreased while decreasing the isocyanate index to 60. Further decrease in isocyanate index resulted in foam shrinkage causing a sharp increase in the foam density. The thermal conductivity of foams increased while decreasing the isocyanate index and increasing the ESBO replacement. Mathematical models for predicting rigid polyurethane foam density, compressive strength, and thermal conductivity were established and validated. Similar to compressive strength, the foaming temperature decreased while decreasing the isocyanate index and increasing the ESBO replacement. Because of the lower reactivity of ESBO with isocyanate, the rate of foaming temperature decrease with decreasing isocyanate index was in the order of 0% > 20% > 50% ESBO replacement. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009