MODELING OF THE DYNAMICS OF WATER AND R-11 BLOWN POLYURETHANE FOAM FORMATION
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Polyurethane foam formation involves both polymerization and expansion processes. The dynamics of the water and R-11 blown foams depend on the rates of chemical and physical blowing processes, along with the rate of viscosity increase of the reacting mixture. Experiments were carried out to study the dynamics of free rising, water and R-11 blown rigid polyurethane foams. The density and temperature change during the foam formation were monitored. A theoretical model was developed to predict the density and temperature variation with time. In the model, the physical blowing agent (R-11) evaporation process is assumed to be heat generation controlled and the carbon dioxide generation process to be controlled by the rate of the water-isocyanate reaction. The kinetic parameters of the reactions of isocyanate with polyol and water were obtained separately and were assumed to be independent of each other. The water-isocyanate reaction appears to follow first-order kinetics with respect to concentration of water. The theoretical predictions of the model show good agreement with the experimental data for density variation with time. The model predictions for temperature rise also match experimental data, except at the later stages of foaming when it is found to be slower than the experimental measurements. However, this deviation does not affect the dynamics of density change since it occurs after the completion of the expansion process.
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