Recycling of thermoset polyurethane foams



A new way for recycling polyurethane (PU) foams is shown by scrap pulverization and subsequent compression molding of resulting particles. The compression molding stage is also called “direct molding” to highlight the absence of any linking agent or virgin material. Large disks, 190 mm in diameter, were molded by recycling foam scraps from motorcycle seats. Aluminum alloy molds and a hot parallel press plate press were used: the molding temperature was fixed to 180°C, the molding pressure to 4.2 MPa, and the molding time to 15 min, whereas the weight of the particles to mold was changed so as to obtain disks with different thickness. The final density of molded product was close to 1 g/cm3, resulting in a compacting factor of 14 in comparison with the initial PU foam. Indentation tests and tensile tests showed that final products exhibit good mechanical performances. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 2013. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers