May 21, 2015, Vinoy® Renaissance Hotel, St. Petersburg, FL

 “Novel Catalyst for Low-Emission Viscoelastic (VE) Foams” Ryohei Takahashi, TOSOH Corporation

Viscoelastic (VE) foams are a type of flexible polyurethane foam which exhibit characteristics of both resiliency and viscosity. VE foams exhibit low resiliency, high viscosity, vibration damping, sound absorption and good texture. These characteristics have led to increased demand for VE foams in products such as high quality pillows, mattresses, care beds and seat pads for wheelchairs. For VE foam producers, Volatile Organic compounds (VOCs) emissions from polyurethane foams continue to be an important issue due to the growing interest in eliminating emission related problems, such as odor, blue haze and potential health risks. Using reactive amine catalysts is one option to reduce VOCs. Reactive amine catalysts are incorporated into the polyurethane structure by reacting with isocyanates, which enables lower VOCs levels. However, as VE foams exhibit narrow process latitude, existing reactive amine catalysts which have insufficient gelling abilities, fail to produce reliable and stable VE foams. Therefore non-reactive amine catalysts, such as Triethylenediamine, remain the catalyst of choice for VE foam production. TOSOH has developed a unique reactive amine catalyst: RZETA®. RZETA® provides strong gelling ability and higher catalytic activity among reactive catalysts. VE foams produced with RZETA® exhibit good formability and improved foam physical properties. In addition, amine emissions can be eliminated and total VOCs of VE foams can be reduced by using RZETA®.

 “Renewable Carbohydrate Solution That Imparts Flame Retardant Properties in Polyurethane Foam” David Patten, Everchem Specialty Chemicals

This presentation discusses a new renewable carbohydrate solution based on sucrose that can be incorporated at low concentrations to improve foam combustion performance without the use of any traditional flame retardant chemicals. The discussion will introduce the molecule and to the patented technology that is used to reduce the water level of the sucrose so that it can be incorporated into flexible foam formulations. The Safety Data Sheet information will be reviewed and the physical properties of the carbohydrate solution presented. The presentation will provide foam properties based on physical testing using a typical starting formulation.

 “Improved Viscoelastic Foam Formulation Technology” Bill Gower, Bayer Material Science LLC

A continued trend in the manufacture of viscoelastic polyurethane flexible foams is to achieve higher quality and even lower density foams. Past formulation or machine processing limitations can be overcome by new formulation techniques which can reduce the need for multiple, unique polyols and/or isocyanates. This paper will introduce these simplified formulation options that may help foam producers to be able to offer foam grades from 1.5 pcf to 5 pcf density. It will also highlight the raw material versatility to achieve improved physical property and foam quality to introduce to the marketplace.

 “Aliphatic Polyester Polyols with Recycled Content for Flexible Polyurethane Foam” Rick Beatty, INVISTA

Polyurethane formulators continue to develop new applications using INVISTA’s TERRIN™ polyols, which are 100% aliphatic polyester polyols with unique structures that contain a minimum of 50% recycled content; some also have renewable content. These polyols offer formulators alternatives that can help achieve the often contradictory objectives of meeting performance requirements, while also minimizing cost. This paper describes TERRIN™ polyols, and reviews the properties of viscoelastic (VE) and high-resilience (HR) foams made using model foam formulations. The results suggest that TERRIN™ polyols can be considered as partial drop-in replacements for polyols commonly used in these types of foams. Little or no adjustment is needed to the formulations and, depending on the formulation, some improved properties may be obtained. Key benefits seen with both VE and HR foams include increased strength, increased compression force deflection (CFD) for improved load-bearing capability, and possibly lower burn rate. The strength and CFD improvements suggest that TERRIN™ polyols have potential to replace graft polyols in HR foam when seeking improved load bearing properties.

 “Highly Sophisticated Cell Opener for Viscoelastic Foam” Roland Hubel, Evonik

TDI 80 viscoelastic formulations have a tendency toward closed cell structures, which often result in shrinkage. The role of the cell structure – cell fineness and porosity – turns out to be significant for viscoelastic foams relying on the pneumatic as well as the adhesion effect. Therefore, careful control of cell regulation and cell opening are the main challenges in production of viscoelastic foam. The foam structure is affected by the foam stabilizer and the processing conditions. Hence, the polyether siloxane foam stabilizer plays an essential role for both processing and the final foam properties. Evonik has put a lot of resources into the development of a tailor-made, highly sophisticated cell opener for TDI 80 viscoelastic foam. Therefore we have synthesized new polyether siloxane structures to combine smooth stabilization with controlled cell opening and present an optimized new product for TDI 80 viscoelastic foam cell opening. A smart combination of the chosen foam stabilizer and the new cell opening additive allow the tailoring of cell structure of TDI 80 viscoelastic foam.