Proceedings of the Polyurethane Foam Association Technical Program October 2002

Fine Cell Structure FR Surfactant for Use with CO2 as ABA, Greg Pickrell, Crompton OSi Specialists, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

Until now, no FR silicone surfactant for flexible slabstock foams made using CO2 as auxiliary blowing agent has ever provided the optimum combination of cell structure control and process latitude of our "pre-CO2" products (for example, Niax® silicone L-620). Silicone surfactants that were "non-FR" in performance, whether classified as hydrolyzable or non-hydrolyzable materials, have been the easiest to use in manufacturing acceptable quality foams. Silicone surfactant manufacturers have been approaching the goal of "pre-CO2" performance with each new product introduction. Our developmental work at Crompton Corporation recently culminated with the introduction of Niax silicone L-635 that achieves the goal of excellent cell structure in combination with very broad processing latitude. The developmental history of this unique silicone is reviewed, and the performance characteristics are discussed.

CarDio FillTech Technology CO2 Frothing with Fillers, Tony Griffiths, Cannon Viking, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

Following the phase-out of CFC blowing agents in the USA and Europe, most foamers have also eliminated methylene chloride and installed CO2 froth systems. Increased interest in foam fire safety has brought the focus back to fillers and melamine powder in particular. But, will fillers run on all CO2 froth processes?

CarDio CO2 frothing technology uses a gatebar device for froth laydown. The reasons for originally choosing this type of device are examined, as well as why this technology has proved to be the most successful CO2 froth process for running fillers.

There are some important rules for running fillers with CarDio. These rules form the basis of the Cannon Viking FillTec technology, which can be supplied as a fully integrated plant for efficient handling of fillers - from powder in bags or bulk to the foam line.

Latest Developments of Silicone Surfactants for Liquid CO2 Foam, Rob Borgogelli, Degussa Goldschmidt, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

The use of methylene chloride as a blowing agent in the production of flexible polyurethane foam has been severely restricted in recent years by the adoption of National Standards (EPA and OSHA) and by regional legislation (state, provincial, municipal). Foam production facilities have met these new regulatory requirements by selecting alternative technologies to achieve similar products with the same properties.

The approach most widely adopted in the industry is the use of Liquid Carbon Dioxide as a blowing agent in formulations to replace methylene chloride. Introduced in 1993, this technology has evolved from a novel experimental technique to a commercially viable process. To date, over 50% of the foam plants in the US and Canada have implemented the equipment and made this conversion.

The road to success has been very technically challenging. Mechanical improvements to optimize the equipment are ongoing. Foam line managers are continuing to refine their procedures and operating conditions to produce a better, more consistent quality of foam. Complementing these process improvements, surfactant suppliers are developing new chemical structures that are better designed to support nucleation (achieve a fine and uniform cell structure), yet still maintain the standard functions of stabilization, processing latitude, and good burn test results.

This presentation will review the implementation of the Liquid CO2 foam process in North America, and how the Goldschmidt surfactant product line evolved over the years. The laboratory techniques used to screen and optimize the performance of liquid CO2 surfactants will be reviewed, as well as the criteria that has been established for the "next generation" candidates. Data from laboratory evaluations and commercial plant trials will also be presented.

TDI Scrubber Technology in Australia, Rob Sack, Pacific Dunlop, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

Control of TDI emissions from foaming operations has been a requirement in Australia for many years. The high cost and low efficiency of activated carbon and water mist led to the development of a cheaper, more efficient scrubber technology. This process has been developed and refined over the past 12 years, with all the foam plants at Dunlop Flexible Foams Group now successfully using this technology.

Adsorption of TDI Using Activated Carbon, Chris Ecob, Camfil Farr, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

There is an inevitable loss of air contaminated with toluene diisocyanate (TDI) from flexible polyurethane foam manufacturing processes. The volume of air and the degree of TDI contamination are governed by the mechanics and chemistry of the process. TDI is hazardous to human health and control measures are required to protect process operatives and the wider environment.

Camfil Farr has extensive experience in successfully providing turnkey extraction and filtration systems for TDI. The first responsibility in any contract is to provide safe conditions for the operatives, particularly at sensitive process locations. The second responsibility is to ensure legislation relating to environmental emissions is satisfied under all normal operational conditions. It is desirable to provide confidence that compliance will be achieved during excursions outside normal operation and also in response to any reasonable future tightening of emission limits. The third responsibility is to ensure that the abatement plant is essentially invisible to the manufacturing process and running costs are minimized (power consumption, consumables, maintenance requirements etc.).

The presentation will draw upon experience in UK, USA and Canada to detail efficiency and lifetime data together with capital and operational costs. Comments will also be made relating to observations on plant operation that only come with experience.

Industrial Hygiene Sampling for Airborne TDI in Six Flexible Slabstock Foam Manufacturing Facilities in the United States, Barbara Cummings, Bayer, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

There has been a considerable amount of industrial hygiene sampling conducted for airborne toluene diisocyanate (TDI) in the flexible slabstock polyurethane foam industry. The focus of the sampling has generally included long-term (time-weighted-average) monitoring, not short-term sampling episodes. By conducting only long-term sampling, which averages the exposure over some extended time period, these short-term episodes (i.e., tasks or activities) of peak exposure were not characterized. This article will focus on the results for both short-term and long-term samples collected at six flexible slabstock foam manufacturing facilities throughout the United States, including a comparison of the short-term and long-term data to determine if long-term (average) sampling underestimates short-term (peak) exposures.

High Resilience Polyurethane Foam with the Performance of Latex Foam, Ted Smiecinski, BASF, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

Typically, in cushioning applications, latex foam is used in bedding and pillows. It is used in high price-point pieces and is associated with the best in comfort and durability qualities. Using appropriate formulation and materials selection, as well as comparing similar density and hardness properties, urethane foam can be made to outperform latex in nearly every standard flexible foam property test. Additionally, urethane can be made to exhibit similar "hand" characteristics normally associated exclusively with latex foam.

Test results of typical latex foam samples used for cushioning applications were compared to test results of urethane foams formulated with BASF PluracolÒ HR polyols at comparable density and hardness.

These urethane foams (made with PluracolÒ HR polyols and TDI) will exhibit similar "hand" to latex foam and will also outperform latex in most flexible foam tests. Reducing water and replacing it with CO2 to maintain IFD will improve "hand" as well as support. Commercially, one could conclude that urethane foams made according to the methodology described will last longer and exhibit similar, if not better comfort qualities, than latex foam.

Marketing messages from suppliers of latex foam for cushioning state that latex foam is more comfortable and lasts longer than urethane foam. Data suggests that properly formulated urethane foam, at comparable foam density and hardness to latex foam, will outlast latex foam. Furthermore, formulations made with PluracolÒ HR polyols exhibit the same comfort qualities as latex foam. This may translate into an excellent opportunity for urethane to replace latex in most foam cushioning niches where latex is currently perceived to hold advantages.

Round Robin Testing to Verify Section 3 of the Proposed CATB117 Revision, Herman Stone, PFA, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

PFA conducted a round robin test of the proposed revision of TB Cal 117 (foam tests only) involving 13 laboratories. Each laboratory tested four currently commercial foams, each in triplicate using the mockup test. The foams were also tested using the heat-aged version of the vertical ignition test with revised specifications.

At the time of this presentation, not all of the participating laboratories had finished the testing.

Preliminary data showed that the 1 pcf sample failed the mockup test in most but not all instances. The 1.5 pcf foam passed in the majority of cases but showed some failures as well. The 1.8 pcf foam and the HR foam samples succeeded well.

The vertical test results generally followed those of the mockup test. Vertical test failures in most instances were accredited to the new proposed criteria. In most cases, though, these commercial foams passed the current requirements.

Update on CATB117 and AB603, John McCormack, CBHFTI, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

This presentation addresses the status of work being conducted to improve the safety of furniture and bedding products sold to California consumers. The paper describes test protocols that are being investigated to update Calif TB117 (residential upholstered furniture) and also addresses the requirements of AB 603 (residential bedding). The goal is to find an effective means of testing the flammability of upholstered furniture and bedding as well as to help achieve reductions in the numbers and rates of deaths, injuries and property losses related to furnishings fires.

Development of a Mass Loss Technique for Furniture Flammability Performance, Kurt Reimann, Alliance for the Polyurethane Industry, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

In this paper, the development of a small open flame test for upholstered furniture is described. This new test method uses mass loss as the prime criterion in evaluating furniture flammability performance. The small-scale test rig is modeled after that in the BS-5852 standard and uses a composite specimen. This development work by the API Combustibility Committee is closely tied to the efforts in California (117 draft standard) and at CPSC to develop similar tests. Results on the behavior of various furniture component materials will be discussed.

Developing an Open-Flame Ignition Test Method for Residential Mattresses, Gordon Damant, Inter-City Testing & Consulting, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

Almost thirty years ago, the United States mattress industry was actively engaged in working with the government to develop a flammability test method and to regulate residential mattresses. Since 1974 every mattress sold in the U.S. must be resistant to cigarette ignition, as specified by 16 CFR 1632. Recently, attention has again been drawn to the flammability of residential mattresses and foundations.

The current mattress fire issue relates to the open-flame ignition resistance of residential bed sets. Over the past four years the mattress industry has funded extensive flammability research at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) to assess the flammability of typical bedding systems, including the bedclothes used on the bed as well as the mattress and foundation. The major phases of this research have been completed.

Both federal and state regulators have indicated a desire to regulate fires in bedrooms. In October 2001 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPR). Public comment on the ANRP was completed by December 2001. In August 2001 California enacted law requiring all mattresses sold in California after January 1, 2002, to be resistant to open-flame ignition. As part of the development of test methods and standards, California is also required to investigate the open-flame fire properties of residential bedclothes.

This paper briefly discusses the mattress industry's response to the current flammability issues and also summarizes the recent research at NIST intended to address open-flame ignition resistance of residential bed sets.

Effective Reactive FR for Production of Combustion Modified Flexible Foams, Tim Geran, AmeriBrom, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

The US National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) has raised its concern about the lack of fire safety in furniture usually containing flexible polyurethane (PU) foams. Consequently, NASFM has addressed this issue since 1993 and is now supporting the Furniture Fire Safety Act, which is being considered for introduction into the US Congress. If this legislation becomes law, it will require that all upholstered furniture for sale to consumers be made in accordance with the requirements of California TB 117.

An even more stringent version of TB 117 is being considered that would have similarities with the well-established British Standard BS 5852 "crib 5".

This paper addresses the effectiveness and environmental benefits of Tribromoneopentyl alcohol (FR-513), a reactant polymer modifier offered by DSBG. FR-513 can be used to produce flame-retarded flexible PU foam able to pass fire safety standards at lower densities.

Alternatives for Brominated and Halogenated FR Additives, Ted Halchak, AKZO-Nobel, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

Special problems:
Cost efficiency (Alternatives to current Halogenated products are almost always more expensive and/or more difficult to process, if available at all.)
When Fire Retardants are eliminated, the added risk to life and property often far outweighs the reduction of risk from their removal.

Alternative in a special application:
Pentabromo di phenyl oxide : Efforts to replace PBDPO has been underway for some time.

Replacement in flexible foam has been a uniquely difficult problem because of its special fit in this technology. No other product has been found that is as cost effective and as easily processed in a wide range of products while being highly resistant to scorch (foam discoloration or degradation which makes it unacceptable for many end uses.) As a result, many products have been developed that meet some but not all of these replacement requirements. The closest product we have yet found for this is a product called EAC003. This product is a new development that appears to answer many of the concerns at an acceptable cost, from processability and product performance to the toxicity standpoint.

Included in the paper will be extensive data regarding performance of this product and other products with similar performance characteristics (from fogging to firmness of foam).

Combustibility of Polyurethane Foams, Rakesh Paleja, Shell Chemicals, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

Polyurethane foam combustion is an important industry issue. In this presentation, different test methods that are used to characterize foam combustion will be first reviewed. Also, the basic reactions and their relative importance in the propagation of fire will be discussed.

When foams are tested as per the BS5852 test method, many factors can influence the combustion behavior. The foam type (Conventional/High Resilience), foam density, type of flame retardant additives (liquid, halogen/phosphorus or solid, melamine) and the cell structure are some of the important variables. Influence of these factors will be discussed.

In our study using the BS5852 test method, we have seen that in HR foams, a type of liquid flame retardant can affect foam combustion. The decomposition temperature and the halogen content of the liquid flame retardant are the most influential variables which should be considered in designing the formulation. However, in conventional foams, both solid and liquid flame retardants are important, and a judicious combination of the two is desirable. Changing the foam density shows that the presence of melamine becomes even more important at low densities in conventional foams.

Total weight loss (TWL) and rate of Total weight loss (rate of TWL) are two of the many ways by which foam combustion can be characterized. By measuring TWL in a dynamic way during combustion, we have seen that, unlike that which is commonly believed, rate of TWL is not a constant parameter. Appropriate ways to quantify the rate of TWL will be presented, and their advantages and disadvantages will be discussed.

Exotherm Management Technology, Jacob Sturgeon, Woodbridge Group, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, October 17 & 18, 2002

Managing the exotherm of the water-isocyanate reaction continues to be a limiting hurdle in the goal of producing low cost, efficient, environmentally friendly polyurethane slabstock foams. There is continued local and international progress in the reduction and elimination of many organic auxiliary blowing agents (ABAs), including: CFCs, methylene chloride and methyl chloroform.

There is an increasing need to develop and adopt low cost alternative methods of producing high water polyurethane slabstock foams safely, with reduced health and environmental risks.

This presentation, Exotherm Management Technology (EMT), was developed and patented by Woodbridge Foam Corporation to address the exotherm issue and the idea of eliminating the reliance on auxiliary blowing agents.

In addition to the highly predictable exotherm management, EMT offers: 1. The benefits of formulation cost reduction and capital cost avoidance; 2. Reduction or elimination of scorch discoloration; 3. Increased load building efficiency through the water-TDI reaction and subsequent reduction or elimination of SAN; 4. Reduced cross-sectional physical property variation. In addition, EMT also works synergistically with many technologies, increased processing latitudes, especially in the direction of ultra-low density foams.