Ultrasonic Processing Of Thermoplastic Foam
Published 1990 · Materials Science
Ultrasonically induced bubble formation for the production of thermoplastic foam was investigated experimentally and theoretically as a basic study. A general purpose polystyrene and blends of low density polyethylene and polyethylene wax were saturated with nitrogen gas under various pressures and the ultrasonic excitation was applied to the polymer system upon release of gas pressure. The ultrasonic nucleation of bubbles in the polymer matrix was modeled by utilizing the classical nucleation theory. The negative pressure generated by the ultrasonic excitation was considered as the environmental pressure at the moment of nucleation. The experimental results showed that the heterogeneous nucleation must be used for ultrasonic foaming of the viscous fluid and the homogeneous nucleation for the low viscosity fluid. The theoretical analysis also indicated that the ultrasonic nucleation can be applied to the production of thermoplastic foam if the ultrasonic excitation generates large enough negative pressure.