• phenolic foam;
  • phosphorus-containing polyurethane;
  • mechanical properties;
  • thermal stability


Phenolic foam exhibits outstanding flame, smoke and toxicity properties, good insulation properties and low production costs. However, the brittleness and pulverization of phenolic foam have severely limited its application in many fields. In this study, a novel phosphorus-containing polyurethane prepolymer (DOPU) modifier was firstly synthesized, and then the foaming formula and processing of toughening phenolic foam modified with DOPU and glass fiber were explored. The structure and reactive behavior of prepolymer and phenolic resin were investigated using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The effects of DOPU and glass fiber on the apparent density, compressive strength, bending strength and water absorption were investigated. The results suggested that the apparent density, compressive strength and bending strength of modified phenolic foam tended to increase irregularly with increasing content of DOPU. The addition of DOPU led to lower water absorption of glass fiber-filled foam. Thermal stability and flame retardancy were examined using thermogravimetric analysis and limiting oxygen index (LOI) tests. It was found that foam with 3% DOPU and 0.5% glass fiber added exhibited good thermal stability and high char yields. The LOI value of modified phenolic foams decreased with increasing DOPU content, but it still remained at 41.0% even if the amount of modifier loaded was 10 wt%. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry