Proceedings of the Polyurethane Foam Association Technical Program, Arlington, VA May 8, 2002

Higher Quality DBTDL Catalyzed HR Foam, Rich Rose, Great Lakes Chemical, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Arlington, VA, May 9, 2002

Data show that a new flame retardant additive can improve overall high resilience flexible polyurethane foam quality. The use of dibutyl tin dilaurate catalyst can result in depolymerization of cured flexible polyurethane foam if the catalyst is not deactivated.

Addition of halophosphate ester flame retardants has typically been used to deactivate dibutyl tin dilaurate. An adverse side effect has been foam discoloration. This paper presents a new flame retardant additive which deactivates the dibutyl tin dilaurate without causing the foam to discolor.

The Environmental Fate Of TDI/MDI-Based Polyurethane Foams, Fran Lichtenberg, Alliance for the Polyurethanes Industry, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Arlington, VA, May 9, 2002

Every year billions of pounds of polyurethane products are manufactured worldwide. At the end of their useful life, a sizable fraction of these products are placed in landfills. So the question has been raised about the stability of polyurethanes in a landfill, and the potential for production and release of degradation products such as aromatic amines.

API has sponsored research, conducted by Carnegie Mellon Univerisity, to investigate the potential environmental impact of several types of polyurethane under simulated landfill conditions -- both fermentataive and methanogenic conditions, which represent different stages in the lifecycle of a landfill. Each phase of the study ran for approximately 2 years.

Four types of polyurethane foams were studied:

  • FPF (TDI/polyether polyol type)
  • Polyurethane spray foam (polymeric MDI/polyester polyol based)
  • Polyisocyanurate foam (polymeric MDI/polyester polyol based)
  • Automotive shredder residue (ASR)

The conclusions from studies conducted by Carnegie Mellon University for the Alliance for the Polyurethanes Industry are:

  • Polyurethane foams do not degrade in landfills
  • Any aromatic amines generated from such degradation would not leach into the groundwater, but would remain bound to the landfill matrix, or would further decompose.

Non-fugitive Catalysts for CO2 Blown Foams, Ernie Rister, Huntsman Petrochemical, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Arlington, VA, May 9, 2002


Flexible polyurethane foams have been and remain one of the most versatile cushioning materials ever produced. We, as an industry, have faced a number of issues over the years and have always responded with improved products and solutions, but we still face additional challenges. It is increasingly important to support improved safety and responsible care in all phases of the polyurethane market. Government regulations, industrial hygiene, plant emissions, and odors in our products are increasingly becoming more visible and important. National, State and local governmental agencies each have their own requirements for emissions from the manufacturing locations. The furniture, bedding industry and carpet industries are becoming more concerned with chemicals that may effect the customers perception of their products.

Tertiary amines are an essential ingredient in any flexible slabstock formulation. With liquid CO2 production the amine concentration has been increased substantially and the amine choices changed to reflect higher specificity for the blowing reaction to control the initial viscosity. The catalyst systems generally employ a strong gelling amine such as triethylene diamine and a second very strong blowing catalyst, bis-dimethylaminoethylether. It is commonly used to control the froth viscosity and improve the yields of a particular formulation. Unfortunately these catalysts have relatively high vapor pressure.

We will show that better alternatives exist that are less troublesome, lower in emission potential and produce a wide range of foams with excellent properties for both conventional and liquid CO2 blown foams. There is only a "small priced toupee" for this increased margin of safety.

Polyurethane Foams Based on Soy Polyol Blends, Tom Kurth, Urethane Soy Systems, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Arlington, VA, May 9, 2002

This presentation described the composition of SoyOyl® biobased polyol, made with sustainable raw materials from annually renewable, agricultural resources.

It addressed soy-based polyol use in flexible and rigid polyurethane structures, and provided background for investigating the use of soy-based polyols for the production of slabstock flexible polyurethane foams.

Technical data was presented from research conducted under standard operating conditions and environments. The use of SoyOyl® and standard polyols blends was compared in reference to MW for stable system performance.

Customer preference and market demand for sustainable, biobased materials and the Government's support and preferences for biobased products made from annually renewable, agricultural resources was explained.

Significant energy and VOC reductions and in SoyOyl® biobased polyols production was compared to that of petrochemical based polyols. The presentation included discussion of the possibility of future government legislation for greater use of sustainable, biobased materials to satisfy increasing demands, and to reduce air pollution and the overall dependence on expensive, imported petroleum.

It was shown that sustainable, biobased polyols are cost-effective and economical, as well as environmentally preferable.

Foam Discoloration In The Presence Of Amines, Dr. Kerstin Schrinner, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Arlington, VA, May 9, 2002

Polyurethanes are prone to degradation both during processing and end-use, as a result of the combined effects of mechanical shear, thermal-oxidative and UV light exposure. During manufacture, antioxidants are effective at preventing free-radical induced oxidation and preventing scorch discoloration of flexible foams. The state-of-the-art for the stabilization of flexible slabstock is based on combinations of hindered phenols and secondary aromatic amines.

This paper gives a short overview about the autoxidation cycle, the mechanism of stabilization conferred by various additives, and their influence on scorch and surface foam discoloration. Traditional amine based antioxidant packages are compared to amine-free and low-amine containing solutions.

Foam suppliers are becoming more and more under pressure to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in flexible foam used in automotive, furniture and bedding products. Especially automotive manufacturers look for additives with good fogging properties. As a result of design changes in automobile wind screens, higher temperatures are measured in the interior of cars. Such temperatures lead to evaporation of volatile materials followed by condensation (fogging) deposits on the windows.

The main sources of VOCs and fogging emissions are additives like silicone surfactants, amine catalysts, BHT and aromatic aminic antioxidants.

Fogging and VOC data are presented to show and compare the relative influence of the most common AO additives to amine-free and low-amine containing antiscorch packages.

An Update On Flame Retardant Additives in Europe, Dr. Hubert Creyf, EUROPUR, Proceedings of the Technical Program of the Polyurethane Foam Association Meeting, Arlington, VA, May 9, 2002

Polyurethane foam has always had a relationship with the fire phenomenon. In certain countries and in user sectors, this has lead to the creation of fire legislation or rules. To meet certain fire standards, flame retardants have been used.

This presentation will provides an overview of the attitude of different parties toward the use of FRs in Europe. Indeed, there are as many positions as there are parties. Furthermore, definitive country statistics are rare, and product liability is not often applied in this field. This makes a general, universal European fire legislation very difficult to achieve.

The actual use of FRs (including brominated FRs) by EUROPUR members will be matched with the different points of view, and possible future developments will be projected (of which new regulations in the USA may be an influential parameter).

The presentation includes a list of on-going activities and recommendations.

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