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Soft PVC foams: Study of the gelation, fusion, and foaming processes. II. Adipate, citrate and other types of plasticizers



Plasticized poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) is one of the most useful polymeric materials on an industrial scale because of its processability, wide range of obtainable properties, and low cost. PVC plastisols are used in the production of flexible PVC foams. Phthalates are the most used plasticizers for PVC, and in a previous article (part I of this series), we discussed the influence of phthalate ester type plasticizers on the foaming process and on the quality of the foams obtained from the corresponding plastisols. Because the use of phthalate plasticizers has been questioned because of possible health implications, the objective of this work was to undertake a similar study with 11 commercial alternative plasticizers to phthalates. The evolution of the dynamic and extensional viscosity and the interactions and thermal transitions undergone by the plastisols during the heating process were studied. Foams were obtained by rotational molding and were characterized by the determination of their thermomechanical properties, density, and cell size distribution. Correlations were obtained between the molecular weight and structure of the plasticizer and the behavior of the corresponding plastisols. After the characterization of the final foamed product, we concluded that foams of relatively good quality could be prepared with alternative plasticizers for replacing phthalates. Several plasticizers {Mesamoll (alkylsulfonic phenyl ester), Eastman 168 [bis(2-ethylhexyl)-1,4-benzenedicarboxylate], Hexamoll [di(isononyl) cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylate], Citroflex A4 acetyl tributyl citrate (ATBC), and Plastomoll (dihexyl adipate)} were found to be interesting alternatives in the production of soft PVC foams because they provided very good quality foams with properties similar to, or even better than, those obtained with phthalate plasticizers. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011