Preparation and characterization of colloidal carbon sphere/rigid polyurethane foam composites



Sucrose decomposed under hydrothermal conditions, generating colloidal carbon spheres (CCSs) with a perfectly spherical morphology. X-ray diffraction indicated that the main component of the CCSs was disordered carbon, and massive hydroxyl groups existed on the surface, as confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. CCSs were first introduced into polyurethane foams (PUFs), and CCS-reinforced PUF (PUF/CCS) composites were synthesized. The introduction of CCSs did not increase the viscosity of polyol/CCS blends significantly. The good dispersion of CCSs and the compatibility between CCSs and polyurethane were confirmed by transmission electron microscopy measurements. The results of mechanical testing showed that PUF/CCS composites exhibited greatly improved mechanical properties in comparison with neat PUFs, and this could be ascribed to the finer cell structure of the PUF/CCS composites, which was inspected with scanning electron microscopy. Thermogravimetric analysis indicated that the effects of CCSs on the thermal stability of the foams were slight. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009