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Effects of Wood Fiber and Microclay on the Performance of Soy Based Polyurethane Foams

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Various polyurethane (PU) foams were prepared by in situ reaction of isocyanate and soy-based polyol. The effects of wood fiber and microclay on the foam morphologies, mechanical properties and thermal behaviors of PU foams were investigated. NCO index had fundamental impacts on the influences of wood fiber and microclay on the performance of PU foams. The reinforcement behavior of flexible foams was different to that of both semi-rigid and rigid foams. Both fiber and microclay improved the compressive strength at a high NCO index of 140–250, and contributed to relative high decomposition temperatures. Unlike the compressive strength, the tensile strength was decreased due to the amount of hard polyurea formation from secondary reactions at the highest NCO level. In addition, wood fiber had different reinforcement mechanism from microclay. Wood fiber desired to form chemical bonds during foaming while microclay had potential to form physical insertions. This difference was expressed by the change of their thermal degradation temperature.

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The authors are grateful to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Ontario BioCar Initiative for their financial support. The authors also thank Huntsman, Urethane Soy Systems, and Air Products for their generous donations.

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Correspondence to Ruijun Gu.

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Gu, R., Sain, M.M. Effects of Wood Fiber and Microclay on the Performance of Soy Based Polyurethane Foams. J Polym Environ 21, 30–38 (2013).

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