Extrusion of Solid State Polymer Foams and Foam Composites
Introduction Microcellular polymers are plastic foams with cell size on the order of 10 um in diameter. Technology description Researchers at the University of Washington have developed methods for continuous production of solid-state foamed plastics and composites. These methods are based on processing of pre-foamed or unfoamed powder or pellets in a specially designed screw extruder. Cell growth is controlled during extrusion to produce a foam with a uniform 10um cell size. The microcellular foam can then be formed to net shape in a closed mold. Business opportunity This technique both lowers the weight and increases the insulating properties of the resulting plastic foam. Also, material costs can be reduced without compromising mechanical properties of parts. Stage of development Initial data and working prototypes exist for this technology. Intellectual property position The technology is available for licensing.
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