Polymer foams are widely used in several fields such as thermal insulation, acoustics, automotive, and packaging. The most widely used polymer foams are made of polyurethane, polystyrene, and polyethylene but environmental awareness is boosting interest towards alternative bio-based materials. In this study, the suitability of bio-based thermoplastic cellulose palmitate for extrusion foaming was studied. Isobutane, carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrogen (N2) were tested as blowing agents in different concentrations. Each of them enabled cellulose palmitate foam formation. Isobutane foams exhibited the lowest density with the largest average cell size and nitrogen foams indicated most uniform cell morphology. The effect of die temperature on foamability was further studied with isobutane (3 wt%) as a blowing agent. Die temperature had a relatively low impact on foam density and the differences were mainly encountered with regard to surface quality and cell size distribution. This study demonstrates that cellulose palmitate can be foamed but to produce foams with greater quality, the material homogeneity needs to be improved and researched further.
- cellulose ester
- foam extrusion