Continuous Production of Microcellular Fibers

Introduction In microcellular plastic foams, inert gas is dissolved in thermoplastic under high pressure. The forced evacuation of this gas during processing creates pores (or cells) within the final plastic. The pores are small enough that clarity of the plastic is unaffected, and because of the pores, much less starting material is required in microcellular plastics than in conventional plastics, greatly reducing weight and cost. As a wide range of pore densities is achievable, this technology has broad applicability. However, very thin materials are difficult to keep saturated with dissolved gas, and this places size constraints on the technology. Technology Description Professor Kumar at the University of Washington has developed a process that allows for the synthesis of very thin microcellular material, such as fibers and films. This technology removes one of the primary limitations of microcellular plastic foam production. Additionally, this technology is a continuous process and presents much greater efficiency of time over conventional techniques that use batch process. Business Opportunity This process for the production of microcellular fibers presents opportunities to reduce cost, weight, and starting material in any process that incorporates the use of thermoplastics. It is especially suitable for producing very small and thin structures or for workflows especially suited to continuous production. It expands the use of microcellular plastics to include anything made of fibrous material, such as textiles. Intellectual Property Position The UW has filed a patent on this technology. For more information on this technology contact:
Patrick Shelby Technology Manager jpshelby@u.washington.edu 206-543-3970

Type of Offer: Licensing



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