PFA Technical Program Agenda, May 25, 2017

November 8, 2018 Technical Program Abstracts

Four Seasons Hotel
St. Louis, MO

Optimized Surfactants for MDI-based Viscoelastic and Supersoft Foams 

Melissa Kern (presenter), Yevgen Berezhanskyy, Gabriel Kiss, Lorenzo Fiore, Marcel Hartmann Momentive Performance Materials


Specialty foam grades, such as viscoelastic and supersoft foams, heavily rely on the use of specialized types of raw materials. Producing a variety of foam grades, each with a specialized formulation, requires a large number of raw materials. As a result, new product development encounters space and equipment constraints. One solution is to develop a silicone surfactant that can achieve the desired foam properties using common, readily available raw materials. 

Silicone surfactants are essential not only for foam stabilization but also in the determination of final foam properties.  These are achieved via the surfactant’s ability to control cell structure and foam openness.   Momentive has dedicated significant effort to the development of distinct surfactants that allow production of specialty foam grades using readily available, standard raw materials.  For example, Niax* Silicone L-417 and Niax Silicone L-422 can be used to produce multiple specialty foam grades (e.g., pneumatic viscoelastic and supersoft), using the same raw materials and nearly identical foam formulations. 

*Niax is a trademark of Momentive Performance Materials Inc.

Volatile Emissions Research From Moulded Flexible Foams In Automotive Applications 

Michel Baumgartner Europur


EURO-MOULDERs, the European Association of Producers of Polyurethane Parts for the Automotive Industry, has carried out investigations on detection of emissions of aromatic amines from moulded flexible foams under the VDA 278 emissions test as amended in 2011. These investigations include assessing parameters that may lead to detection of such emissions, notably the influence of the temperature of the test method, evaluation of the evolution of such emissions over time and air monitoring in real life conditions in both foam plants and in a vehicle.  Findings to be reported show that test conditions, water content and index as well as sampling are significant factors influencing the emissions considered.

Occupational Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI) Exposure and the Incidence of Occupational Asthma 

Patrick Conner, MD


The American Chemistry Council's Diisocyanates Panel and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) engaged in a joint longitudinal study to inform the management of health risks in U.S. TDI manufacturing facilities. The objectives were to: 1) characterize workplace TDI concentrations; 2) monitor employee health through questionnaires and spirometry; 3) investigate potential cases of occupational asthma using a standardized medical evaluation process; 4) create a registry of occupational asthma cases, if any, occurring among workers with potential exposure to TDI; 5) evaluate the effectiveness of the program methods, including the standardized health and environmental monitoring procedures; and 6) communicate program findings. Ultimately, three plants, with an estimated eligible workforce of 300, participated between 2006 and 2012. Dr. Conner, retired from BASF, will discuss the study methods, including medical monitoring of workers; the exposure assessment to characterize jobs and specific tasks; and study results, including health outcomes from medical assessments and incidence of occupational asthma.

Improved Fire Safety Without Flame Retardants--An Industry Challenge Or Opportunity

Irena Amici-Kroutilova
, Dow Chemical Co.



In the UK, flammability standards (such as BS 5852, Crib 5) are the most stringent globally. They are mainly met through the use of halogenated flame retardants such as TCPP.  In contrast, other European nations have no flammability regulations but mattresses and upholstery face limits on emissions of volatile compounds established by regulation, eco-labels and brand owner requirements. 

The tension between flammability standards and VOC limits increases manufactuing costs and complexity and threatens the global availability of certain comfort innovations. And comfort is a key driver of bedding and furniture purchases.

The authors discuss the challenge of formulating polyurethane foam to meet all fire safety, emission standards, and customers expectations of comfort on a global basis.


Inter-Lab Testing Of Smolder Resistance of Upholstered Furniture Components

Lynn Knudtson, Fut
ure Foam


PFA managed a multi-lab study to support ASTM’s translation of Calif. TB 117-2013 furniture regulation  into an international standard test method.  Participating labs included PFA Manufacturing and Associate/Supplier Members, government agencies and textile companies. This Round Robin evaluated the impact of two proposed changes to the TB-117-2013 test: (1) the use of a 3" (vs. 2”) standard vertical foam substrate and; and (2) the use of weight loss (vs. vertical char length) as a pass/fail criteria.  Data has been collected and is being processed by ASTM statisticians.  Neither of the proposed changes appear to alter pass/fail results.  Based on these results, the ASTM 05.15 sub-committee voted to continue using char length, along with either 2" and 2" or the 3" and 3" foam combinations (whichever has the best repeatability and reproducibility  as determined by ASTM staff). This result should minimize disruption to the industry from large-scale retesting of components.

Non-Graphite, Halogen Free, Heat Resistant Flexible Foams for
UL94 V0 Automotive Applications

Lawino Kagumba (presenter), Charles Manzi-Nshuti, Ina Jiang,
FRX Polymers, Inc.



Automotive under-the-hood flexible molded foam parts such as engine covers, need to meet more stringent flame-retardant requirements and long-term heat resistance. To meet these standards, expandable graphite combined with filler-type additives are typically used. While graphite is an effective flame retardant, its processability, particularly in high-pressure systems remains a challenge. Nofia phosphonate oligomers are a new class of heat resistant flame retardants that are chemically bound into the polyurethane backbone during foaming. The resulting foams show significantly improved heat resistance and flame-retardant performance. An additional key benefit of the polymeric nature of Nofia phosphonates is a reduction in VOC and odor compared to small molecule flame retardant additives typically used in other automotive foam applications. This paper presents a heat resistant flexible foam solution based on Nofia phosphonate oligomers that meets the UL94 V0 requirement as an alternative to the graphite-based systems.