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Effect of dispersion method and process variables on the properties of supercritical CO2 foamed polystyrene/graphite nanocomposite foam


  • This article was published online on 16 January 2013. An error was subsequently identified. This notice is included in the online and print versions to indicate that both have been corrected on 25 March 2013.

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan, 10608, Republic of China. E-mail:


In this study, polystyrene/nanographite nanocomposite foams were made by different compounding methods, such as direct compounding, pulverized sonication compounding, and in situ polymerization, to understand the effect of the process variables on the morphology of the nanocomposites and their foam. The foam was made by batch foaming using CO2 as the blowing agent. Various foaming pressures and temperatures were studied. The results indicated that the cell size decreased and the cell morphology was improved with the advanced dispersion of the nanoparticles. Among the three methods, the in situ polymerization method provided the best dispersion and the resulting nanocomposite foam had the finest cell size and the highest cell density. In addition, adding nanoparticles as a nucleating agent can make foams of similar cell size and cell density at a much lower foaming pressure. This result can be explained by the classical nucleation theory. This discovery could open up a newroute to produce microcellular foams at a low foaming pressure. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 53:2061–2072, 2013. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers