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Macromolecular Chemistry I:

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Klose, B.; Kremer, D.; Aksit, M.; van der Zwan, K.P.; Kreger, K.; Senker, J.; Altstädt, V.; Schmidt, H.W.: Kinked Bisamides as Efficient Supramolecular Foam Cell Nucleating Agents for Low-Density Polystyrene Foams with Homogeneous Microcellular Morphology, Polymers 13(7), 1094 (2021) -- DOI: 10.3390/polym13071094
Polystyrene foams have become more and more important owing to their lightweight potential and their insulation properties. Progress in this field is expected to be realized by foams featuring a microcellular morphology. However, large-scale processing of low-density foams with a closed-cell structure and volume expansion ratio of larger than 10, exhibiting a homogenous morphology with a mean cell size of approximately 10 µm, remains challenging. Here, we report on a series of 4,4′-diphenylmethane substituted bisamides, which we refer to as kinked bisamides, acting as efficient supramolecular foam cell nucleating agents for polystyrene. Self-assembly experiments from solution showed that these bisamides form supramolecular fibrillary or ribbon-like nanoobjects. These kinked bisamides can be dissolved at elevated temperatures in a large concentration range, forming dispersed nano-objects upon cooling. Batch foaming experiments using 1.0 wt.% of a selected kinked bisamide revealed that the mean cell size can be as low as 3.5 µm. To demonstrate the applicability of kinked bisamides in a high-throughput continuous foam process, we performed foam extrusion. Using 0.5 wt.% of a kinked bisamide yielded polymer foams with a foam density of 71 kg/m3 and a homogeneous microcellular morphology with cell sizes of ≈10 µm, which is two orders of magnitude lower compared to the neat polystyrene reference foam with a comparable foam density
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