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Rigid Polyurethane Foam Fabrication Using Medium Chain Glycerides of Coconut Oil and Plastics from End-of-Life Vehicles

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journal contribution
posted on 19.05.2017, 00:00 by Aleksandra Paruzel, Sławomir Michałowski, Jiří Hodan, Pavel Horák, Aleksander Prociak, Hynek Beneš
Polycarbonate and polyurethane scraps from end-of-life vehicles were converted into liquid recycled polyols with hydroxyl number around 300 mgKOH·g–1 by using medium chain glycerides of coconut oil. The obtained polyols were used for preparation of low-density rigid polyurethane foams. It was found that up to 50 wt % of the virgin petrochemical polyol can be replaced by the recycled polyols without any negative effect on the foaming process. The obtained foams exhibited the apparent density of 40–44 kg·m–3, the homogeneous cellular structure with a high content of closed cells (>91 vol %) and the beneficially low value of lambda coefficient (∼23 mW·m–1·K–1). The exceptionally high compressive strength (>350 kPa in parallel to foam rise direction) of the rigid PUR foams with 50 wt % of recycled polyol derived from polycarbonate scrap resulted probably from the unique structure of recycled polyol combining rigid aromatic segments together with flexible coconut oil glyceride units. In conclusion, this approach utilizing the renewable coconut oil-derived reagent provides a sustainable recycling solution for two major plastics from automotive waste.