Lightweight and resistant polyurethane foams

Method for the production of foamed material comprising graphene oxide

Title of the patent Metodo per la produzione di materiale espanso comprendente ossido di grafene
Thematic area Chemistry and biotechnology
Ownership Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Aerofoam srl
Inventors Loris Giorgini, Vincenzo Palermo, Simone Ligi
Protection Italy
Licensing status Available for licensing agreement
Keywords Graphene, oxide, polyurethane foam, rigid foam
Filed on May 20, 2014

Polyurethanes are very common polymers; in particular, thermoplastic polyurethanes are a big family of polymers widely used in the production of a variety of materials including foams for insulating panels, gaskets, adhesives etc.

Flexible expanded polyurethanes are used above all to produce upholstery for the furniture and for the car whereas rigid expanded polyurethanes are used to produce heat-insulating materials, and high density polyurethane foams, often used to produce large structural parts.

Process for the production of expanded polyurethane comprising a step of dispersing graphene oxide (additive) in quantities such as to improve the physical-mechanical properties and the performance of the final polymer. With a very low amount of additive you can double the mechanical performance and make the product up to 40% lighter. The method of preparing the patented foamed polyurethanes provides a step of mixing the graphene oxide, in particular proportions, in a dispersing solution and a reaction step with compounds comprising at least one isocyanate group.

The greater structural resistance allows access to those applications where polyurethanes had mechanical limits. At the same cost, it is possible to produce thinner panels with considerable savings in transport costs. The invention uses additives in minimal quantities which are easily mixed and do not require particular techniques; furthermore, they can be used in current production facilities without having to make changes.