UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Cost-Effective Fabrication of Modified Palygorskite-Reinforced Rigid Polyurethane Foam Nanocomposites Wang, Yulei; Cui, Kaibin; Fang, Baizeng; Wang, Fei


Integration of nanoclay minerals into rigid polyurethane foams (RPUFs) is a cost-effective solution to enhance foam’s performance via environmental protection technology. In this work, palygorskite/RPUFs nanocomposites (Pal/RPUFNs) with excellent mechanical properties and thermal stability were prepared via a one-step method, using 4,4’-diphenylmethane diisocyanate and polyether polyol as the starting materials, coupled with Pal modified by silane coupling agent KH570. The effects of the modified Pal on the mechanics, morphology, and thermal properties of the nanocomposites were studied systematically. When the content of the modified Pal was 8 wt% of polyether polyol, the elastic modulus and compressive strength of the Pal/RPUFNs were increased by ca. 131% and 97%, respectively. The scanning electron microscopy images indicated that the addition of the modified Pal significantly decreased the cell diameter of the Pal/RPUFNs. The results of thermogravimetric and derivative thermogravimetry analyses revealed that the addition of the modified Pal increased the thermal weight loss central temperature of the Pal/RPUFNs, showing better thermal stability in comparison with the pure RPUFs. A self-made evaluation device was used to estimate the thermal insulation ability of the Pal/RPUFNs. It was found that the small cell size and uniform cellular structure were keys to improving the thermal insulation performance of the RPUFs. The prepared Pal/RPUFNs are expected to have great potential in the field of building insulation.

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