Nanocellular, Microcellular, and Macrocellular Foams from TPU’s and TPE’s and their Method of Manufacture
Introduction Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE’s) are a class of flexible materials with a wide range of applications. To date TPE’s, and a subclass of these materials, Thermoplastic Urethanes (TPU’s), have been difficult to foam by conventional means. Technology description Researchers at the UW have developed a new solid-state foaming process that allows creation of uniform cellular structures at length scales from nano to macro. The material cell size distribution is narrow and the microstructure is uniform. Business opportunity Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE’s) are a class of flexible materials with a wide range of application in medical, automotive, industrial, sporting goods and other applications, for shock/noise/temperature/vibration insulation, packaging, cushioning, and padding. Stage of development Initial data and working prototypes exist for this technology. The manufacturing process can be directly scaled up to commercial scale production of 36” X 36”
sheets. Intellectual property position This technology is available for licensing. The UW is currently reviewing this technology for worldwide patent protection.
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