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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 474803, 8 pages
Research Article

Properties of Biobased Rigid Polyurethane Foams Reinforced with Fillers: Microspheres and Nanoclay

1Department of Biological Engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia, 248 AE Building, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
2Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia, W2033 Lafferre Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, USA

Received 27 September 2011; Revised 15 November 2011; Accepted 29 November 2011

Academic Editor: Sadhan C. Jana

Copyright © 2012 Hongyu Fan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The effect of incorporating 1–7% microsphere and nanoclay fillers on the physical properties of polyurethane (PU) foams containing 15% soybean oil-based polyol was investigated. Increasing filler percentage reduced the PU foam density. The compressive strength of PU foams decreased slightly when increasing the microsphere content from 1 to 3% and then increased. At 7% microsphere content, the foams displayed the same compressive strength as the control foams made from 100% petroleum polyol. For PU foams reinforced with nanoclay, their compressive strength changed little from 1 to 5%, but decreased at 7% due to a lower density and weaker matrix structure. Foams containing 5 to 7% microspheres or 3 to 7% nanoclay had density-compressive strength comparable or superior to the control. Foams reinforced with fillers had more cells and smaller cell size than foams made from 15% soy-polyol but without fillers. During the foaming process, the maximal temperatures reached by PU foams were not affected by the presence of 1 to 7% of microspheres or nanoclay, but slightly lower than the control. In addition, foams with fillers displayed roughly the same thermal conductivity as soy-polyol based foams without fillers.