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Fabrication and Testing of Soy-Based Polyurethane Foam with Flame Retardant Properties

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Bio-based foams, particularly soy-based polyurethane, have gained a lot of traction for residential and commercial applications. Since the soy-based foam is widely used as insulation material in the construction industry, it must exhibit superior mechanical, insulation, and fire-retardant properties. In this study, soy-based PU foams were prepared with the addition of nanoclay (Cloisite Na +) in five different concentrations varying from 2 to 10%. The foam was fabricated using 100% soy-based polyol. The effects of adding nanoclay were investigated on the thermal, mechanical, and flame retardant properties of the foam. The fabricated foam samples were tested for differences in their morphology due to the addition of nanoclays using a scanning electron microscope. It was observed that with the addition of the nanoclays, the cell size of the foams was reduced and became more uniform. So, significant improvement was found in the mechanical strength of the foam samples. Also, it was observed that adding of nanoclays lead to the formation of a char layer during combustion. The char layer was effective in reducing the rate of burning of the foam by 38%. Overall, it was concluded that the addition of nanoclays resulted in the soy-based PU foam with superior mechanical and flame retardant properties.

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This study is supported by North Dakota Industrial Commission, Contract Number R-020-029. The partial support for this research is also provided by the NSF (HRD 1839895). The authors would also acknowledge the support of Huntsman LLC and MCPU Polymer Engineering LLC for providing the samples of isocyanate and soy-based polyol.

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Correspondence to Gurjot S. Dhaliwal.

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Dhaliwal, G.S., Bajwa, D.S. & Bajwa, S. Fabrication and Testing of Soy-Based Polyurethane Foam with Flame Retardant Properties. J Polym Environ 29, 1153–1161 (2021).

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