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Title: Carbon Capture Utilization for Biopolymer Foam Manufacture: Thermal, Mechanical and Acoustic Performance of PCL/PHBV CO2 Foams
Biopolymer foams manufactured using CO2 enables a novel intersection for economic, environmental, and ecological impact but limited CO2 solubility remains a challenge. PHBV has low solubility in CO2 while PCL has high CO2 solubility. In this paper, PCL is used to blend into PBHV. Both unfoamed and foamed blends are examined. Foaming the binary blends at two depressurization stages with subcritical CO2 as the blowing agent, produced open-cell and closed-cell foams with varying cellular architecture at different PHBV concentrations. Differential Scanning Calorimetry results showed that PHBV had some solubility in PCL and foams developed a PCL rich, PHBV rich and mixed phase. Scanning Electron Microscopy and pcynometry established cell size and density which reflected benefits of PCL presence. Acoustic performance showed limited benefits from foaming but mechanical performance of foams showed a significant impact from PHBV presence in PCL. Thermal performance reflected that foams were affected by the blend thermal conductivity, but the impact was significantly higher in the foams than in the unfoamed blends. The results provide a pathway to multifunctional performance in foams of high performance biopolymers such as PBHV through harnessing the CO2 miscibility of PCL.
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