Bead foams, like expandable polystyrene, expanded polypropylene and -ethylene play a major role as packaging- and insulation materials. Mostly used is expandable polystyrene since the development in the 1950ies. Advantages are the low material costs, the low achievable density and the facile processing. The expandable material (containing a foaming agent) can be easily stored at room temperatures, pre-expanded to the desired density and processed to foamed parts by using steam. But there are also problems occuring with the material, as a main disadvantage is the breaking due to impact, for example in helmets.
The department deals with the material development and especially with the toughness modification. It is important to reach a consistent good suitability for storage and processability as well as new application areas. Furthermore, the processability and the energy consumption of new particles on the moulding machine is investigated.
Another important area is the mechanical and fracture mechanical characterisation for the reason that bead foams have a special morphology due to the assembly out of single pre-foamed beads. First and foremost, for the use of the materials as packaging materials, the fracture behaviour and the failure mechanisms play a major role. Therefore, methods for the exact characterization of the material behaviour are under development.
Contact: Dipl.-Ing. Daniel Raps
Phone: +49 921 5574-64
Fax: +49 921 5574-73