Mechanical and Thermal Properties of High-Density Rigid Polyurethane Foams from Renewable Resources
The most common sustainable solution for polyurethane (PU) materials is their production using renewable resources. Polyols derived from biomass and recycled polymers are the most promising way to do that. This study compares five different sustainable polyols as a possible raw material for production of highdensity rigid PU foams for automotive application. The goal of our study was to show that biobased polyols are a suitable replacement for polyols derived from petrochemical products. The influence of the chemical structure of polyols on the PU polymer matrix and foam properties was investigated. Two sources of PU raw material feedstock were studied: the plant biomass and the side stream of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) production. Three different polyols from renewable resources were investigated as well as two aromatic polyester polyols. High-density rigid polyurethane foams were developed from these raw materials. This was done to choose a material, which could be used as the core of structural elements for lightweight vehicles. The focus was put on the sustainability and competitive properties of the developed materials. The obtained results led to the conclusion that recycled PET polyols show a higher mechanical strength. Nevertheless, renewable resources are closely matched.
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