November 5, 2015, Hilton Fallsview Hotel, Niagara Falls, Ontario

 “A New Method for Measurement of Propensity of Polyurethane Foam/Fabric Assemblies to Transition from Smoldering to Flaming Combustion” Stanislav Stoliarov, University of Maryland

A transition from smoldering to flaming is a significant concern for regulatory agencies responsible for developing and enforcing fire safety standards for furniture. This phenomenon is poorly understood because of its sensitivity to a multitude of physical parameters and a lack of bench scale experiments where it can be observed under controlled and reproducible conditions. Here we report on development of a new apparatus which enables observation of this transition using a relatively small sample consisting of one 5x20x30 cm flexible foam block wrapped in a fabric of interest. In this apparatus, smoldering process is initiated using a local electric heating and gradually intensified due to self-heating and resupply of oxygen driven by natural convection. For a combination of a widely used flexible polyurethane foam and cotton fabric, this experiment yields a highly reproducible transition. It is also demonstrated that this experiment can be employed to discriminate between various foam/fabric compositions in terms of their propensity to transition to flaming.

 “Novel Technology to Influence Hardness of Flexible Polyurethane Foams” Roland Hubel, Evonik Industries AG

There are several ways to influence hardness for the production of flexible polyurethane foam. Reduction of hardness usually has only limited impact on other foam physical properties. However, an increase in hardness is not always possible without undesirable changes to other foam physical properties. There are different ways to increase hardness. For example it is possible to strengthen the three dimensional network of the polyurethane foam. Usually better cross-linking leads to increased hardness. But, this approach can also create more closed cell structure. Porosity change can cause undesired loss of breathability and can affect long term performance. Evonik has put a lot of effort into understanding the hardening effect of foams. In order to create a foam hardener which does not affect other foam physical properties, Evonik has developed a tailor-made, highly sophisticated foam hardener additive, a synthesized new ORTEGOL product to combine low use level with a significant increase in hardness without impact on other foam physical properties.

 “New Polymer Polyol for Slabstock Foam Applications” Scott Charlton, Covestro LLC

Polymer polyols (PMPOs) are graft polyols, which contain finely dispersed particles, such as polystyrene and/or polyacrylonitrile in polyether polyols. These polyols are an integral component and are widely used in polyurethane production, typically in High Resilience (HR) and Conventional foam grades. Covestro LLC has developed and will soon bring Arcol® Polyol HS-200 into the flexible foam polyurethane industry. This new polyol will replace Covestro’s existing Arcol® polyol HS-100 and Arcol® polyol UHS-150. The information discussed in this paper will be the potential performance advantages of the new material with regards to better load building, lower TVOCs, lower viscosity, better CO2 foam processing, less material usage and better filtration properties.

 “EMEROX® 14050 Renewable Polyol; Effect upon Substitution Rate on Flexible Foam Properties” Michael Brooks, Emery Oleochemicals LLC

Emery Oleochemicals LLC, through its Eco-Friendly Polyols platform, offers EMEROX® renewable content polyols. Renewable (bio-based) polyols continue to be important to consumers and are increasingly specified by OEMs. Sustainability and performance can be challenging for flexible polyurethane foam systems based on modified natural oils (NOPs, or natural oil polyols). Typically NOPs can be more difficult to engineer to a specific application than their petrochemical equivalent. EMEROX® polyols are produced from renewable dibasic acids that are a product of Emery Oleochemicals’ proprietary ozonolysis technology. These polyols have all the design freedom of a petrochemical based polyol, but with high renewable content. This paper explores the performance properties of partial substitution of EMEROX® 14050 polyol into typical conventional TDI polyether and polyester foam formulations. Inclusion of a renewable content polyol can affect foam physical properties in unexpected ways. An interesting finding via ladder studies was that polyether foam compression sets and constant force deflections were only slightly affected while tensile strength, tear strength, and percent elongation increased by incorporating this renewable content polyol. Additionally, EMEROX® 14050 polyol also supports production of good quality polyester foams with the benefit of a more hydrophobic and flexible backbone. Minimal compromises in physical properties are apparent when substituting EMEROX® 14050 for traditional adipic acid/DEG based polyester polyols.

 “A Comprehensive Analysis of Carbon Black Colorant Technology: The Components, Their Function and Potential Effect on Urethane Flexible Foam” Lisa Collette, Chromaflo Technologies Corp.

Carbon black colorants all appear similar and it is a common misconception that they all perform as such. However, carbon black colorants are a complex matrix consisting of multiple components, of which there are multiple grades and differing chemistries. This paper explores the potential components in a carbon black colorant and the impact they can have on the properties of the colorant as well as the effect on urethane production processes and the final urethane flexible foam. The goal is to educate decision makers to select the optimal carbon black colorant for their urethane flexible foam.