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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32853

Title: In Situ Observation of Plastic Foaming under Static Condition, Extensional Flow and Shear Flow
Authors: Wong, Anson Sze Tat
Advisor: Park, Chul B.
Department: Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Keywords: Plastic Foaming
Extensional Stress
Shear Stress
Cell Nucleation
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2012
Abstract: Traditional blowing agents (e.g., hydrochlorofluorocarbons) in plastic foaming processes has been phasing out due to environmental regulations. Plastic foaming industry is forced to employ greener alternatives (e.g., carbon dioxide, nitrogen), but their foaming processes are technologically challenging. Moreover, to improve the competitiveness of the foaming industry, it is imperative to develop a new generation of value-added plastic foams with cell structures that can be tailored to different applications. In this context, the objective of this thesis is to achieve a thorough understanding on cell nucleation and growth phenomena that determine cell structures in plastic foaming processes. The core research strategy is to develop innovative visualization systems to capture and study these phenomena. A system with accurate heating and cooling control has been developed to observe and study crystallization-induced foaming behaviors of polymers under static conditions. The cell nucleation and initial growth behavior of polymers blown with different blowing agents (nitrogen, argon and helium, and carbon dioxide-nitrogen mixtures) have also been investigated in great detail. Furthermore, two innovative systems have been developed to simulate the dynamic conditions in industrial foaming processes: one system captures a foaming process under an easily adjustable and uniform extensional strain in a high temperature and pressure environment, while the other achieves the same target, but with shear strain. Using these systems, the extensional and shear effects on bubble nucleation and initial growth processes has been investigated independently in an isolated manner, which has never been achieved previously. The effectiveness of cell nucleating agents has also been evaluated under dynamic conditions, which have led to the identification of new foaming mechanisms based on polymer-chain alignment and generation of microvoids under stress. Knowledge generated from these researches and the wide range of future studies made possible by the visualization systems will be valuable to the development of innovative plastic foaming technologies and foams.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32853
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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