By Cameron Chai
Researchers at Bayer MaterialScience have developed a new chemical method called the polyether polyol and formulation technology to increase the air flow and flexibility of polyurethane foam. The porosity of the polyurethane foam determines its cooling effect and the quality of the cushioning products.
Generally foams with high porosity are manufactured through a mechanical networking or chemical method. However, under this method, the foams have to be treated additionally to enhance their air flow. Due to this factor, the usage of polyurethane foam has been limited to specialty and medium sections. The new research has been able to increase the air flow of the foam to more than 5.0 scfpm and has also been able to control the properties and the recovery rate of the foam. The new technology can be effectively used on soft foams between the grades of 3-20 lbs IFD. Methylene diiscocyanate (MDI) and Toluene diiscocyanate (TDI), which are available commercially can be used in this technology.
The study was conducted by a Bayer Research Fellow Stanley Hager who will present a paper titled, “New Chemical Technology for the Production of Super-High Air Flow Flexible Foams,” at the Polyurethanes Technical Conference. Hager will also present a detailed report of the various grades of foams that can be produced by using this technology and their potential uses in end applications such as seating, bedding and other cushioning where features like increased air flow and moisture removal are vital.