Effects of silicone surfactant on the cell size and thermal conductivity of rigid polyurethane foams by environmentally friendly blowing agents

Mi Sun Han, Seok Jin Choi, Ji Mun Kim, Youn Hee Kim, Woo Nyon Kim, Heon Sang Lee, Joon Yong Sung

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Rigid polyurethane foams (PUF)s were synthesized with environmentally friendly blowing agents such as a cyclopentane/distilled water (10.0/1.0, pphp) mixture and distilled water only for four different silicone surfactants having different silicone/polyether ratios. An attempt was made to reduce the thermal conductivities of the PUF samples by varying the concentration and the silicone/polyether ratio of the various silicone surfactants. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) results indicated an optimum concentration of the silicone surfactant of about 1.5 to 2.5 phpp for various surfactants to reduce the cell size and lower the thermal conductivity. The silicone surfactant having a higher silicone/polymer ratio showed a smaller cell size and, therefore, demonstrated the lower thermal conductivity of the PUF samples. From the relation between the thermal conductivity and the cell size of the PUF samples, the smaller cell size improved the thermal insulation property of the rigid PUF for both the PUF samples blown by the cyclopentane/distilled water (10.0/1.0, pphp) mixture and distilled water only. If the blowing agent is fixed, then the cell size is an important factor to decrease the thermal conductivity of the PUF samples. These results indicated that rigid PUF samples having lower thermal conductivity can be obtained by choosing a silicone surfactant containing a higher silicone/polyether ratio, as well as an optimum content of the surfactant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalMacromolecular Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan 1



  • Blowing agent
  • Rigid polyurethane foam
  • Silicone surfactant
  • Thermal conductivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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