Methods for Production of Thick Microcellular Sheets and Composite Structures
Introduction Microcellular manufacturing processes have been developed largely for production of thin films (thickness <3 mm) in applications such as packaging. Attempts to date to produce thick flat microcellular sheets using conventional batch microcellular process have resulted in specimens with surfaces that are curved and grossly distorted. Technology description Researchers at the UW have developed novel methods to create thick microcellular thermoplastic sheets and composite structures using a Constrained Thermofoaming
(CT) process. These novel strategies achieve higher production rates and better control over the integral skin thickness in the CT process. Business opportunity Thick microcellular sheets with an integral skin of desired thickness can be used in various load bearing applications, especially in the construction industry. These methods can also be used to create thick microcellular plastic sheets for construction panels, automobile body panels, 3-D shapes such as kayaks, boats, automobile bumpers, and a variety of other uses. Stage of development Initial data exist for this technology. The manufacturing process is cost-efficient and easily scaled up. Intellectual property position The technology is available for licensing. The UW is currently reviewing this technology for worldwide patent protection.
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