Acoustical characteristics of ultralight polylactic acid foams fabricated via solution phase inversion
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The acoustic properties of highly porous polylactic acid (PLA) foams with very low densities (as low as 0.12 g/cm3) are evaluated using an impedance tube. PLA foams with a mesoporous or a combined meso/macroporous morphology exhibiting different mechanical and physical properties, are produced via nonsolvent induced phase separation (NIPS). The resulting foams exhibit an interesting resonance-like acoustic absorption behavior providing the opportunity to design acoustic materials to target specific frequency bands by controlling their microstructure. Despite very low densities, plane wave tube measurements suggest that these PLA foams may have the potential for sound barrier applications. Using the transfer matrix approach on multilayer configurations, we showed that the combined meso/macroporous morphology has the most significant impact on the absorption and transmission capacity of the foams. The knowledge produced from this study helps to understand the correlation between the characteristics of highly porous NIPS-derived foams and their acoustic properties.
KeywordsFoams Microstructure Phase separation Absorption Impedance Transmission
Funding provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), École Polytechnique, and Concordia University. The authors wish to thank Arnaud Dubourg for initiating the project and for doing some of the preliminary measurements. Also, the authors are thankful to the anonymous reviewers for the very constructive comments and suggestions.
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