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Title: Expancel Foams: Fabrication and Characterization of a New Reduced Density Cellular Material for Structural Applications

Abstract

This study was initiated to produce a low-density centering medium for use in experiments investigating the response of materials to shock-loading. While the main drivers for material selection were homogeneity, dimensional stability, performance and cost, other secondary requirements included fine cell size, the ability to manufacture 5--10 cm-sized parts and an extremely compressed development time. The authors chose a non-traditional methodology using a hollow, expandable, polymeric microballoon material system called Expancel{reg_sign}. These microballoons are made from a copolymer of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and polymethacrylonitrile (PMAN) and use iso-pentane as the blowing agent. The average diameter (by volume) of the unexpanded powder is approximately 13 {micro}m, while the average of the expanded powder is 35--55 {micro}m, with a few large microballoons approaching 150--200 p.m. A processing method was developed that established a pre-mixed combination of unexpanded and expanded Expancel at a ratio such that the tap (or vibration) density of the mixed powders was the same as that desired of the final part. Upon heating above the tack temperature of the polymer, this zero-rise approach allowed only expansion of the unexpanded powder to fill the interstices between the pre-expanded balloons. The mechanical action of the expanding powder combined with the elevated processingmore » temperature yielded flee-standing and mechanically robust parts. Although mechanical properties of these foams were not a key performance requirement, the data allowed for the determination of the best temperature to heat the samples. Processing the foam at higher temperatures enhanced both modulus and strength. The maximum allowable temperature was limited by dimensional stability and shrinkback considerations. Tomographic analysis of foam billets revealed very flat density profiles. Parts of any density between the low density expanded powder (approximately 0.013 g/cm{sup 3}) and the higher density unexpanded powder (approximately 0.5 g/cm{sup 3}) can be produced using this technique. The extremely wide range of accessible densities, ease of processing, relatively inexpensive materials, uniformity of the density, scaleable nature of the process should make this technology highly competitive for a variety of Defense Programs and commercial applications.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States); Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
US Department of Energy (US)
OSTI Identifier:
760518
Report Number(s):
SAND2000-8217
TRN: AH200032%%73
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1 Aug 2000
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; COPOLYMERS; FABRICATION; FOAMS; MECHANICAL PROPERTIES; ORGANIC POLYMERS; PERFORMANCE

Citation Formats

Whinnery, L, Goods, S, and Even, B. Expancel Foams: Fabrication and Characterization of a New Reduced Density Cellular Material for Structural Applications. United States: N. p., 2000. Web. doi:10.2172/760518.
Whinnery, L, Goods, S, & Even, B. Expancel Foams: Fabrication and Characterization of a New Reduced Density Cellular Material for Structural Applications. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/760518
Whinnery, L, Goods, S, and Even, B. 2000. "Expancel Foams: Fabrication and Characterization of a New Reduced Density Cellular Material for Structural Applications". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/760518. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/760518.
@article{osti_760518,
title = {Expancel Foams: Fabrication and Characterization of a New Reduced Density Cellular Material for Structural Applications},
author = {Whinnery, L and Goods, S and Even, B},
abstractNote = {This study was initiated to produce a low-density centering medium for use in experiments investigating the response of materials to shock-loading. While the main drivers for material selection were homogeneity, dimensional stability, performance and cost, other secondary requirements included fine cell size, the ability to manufacture 5--10 cm-sized parts and an extremely compressed development time. The authors chose a non-traditional methodology using a hollow, expandable, polymeric microballoon material system called Expancel{reg_sign}. These microballoons are made from a copolymer of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and polymethacrylonitrile (PMAN) and use iso-pentane as the blowing agent. The average diameter (by volume) of the unexpanded powder is approximately 13 {micro}m, while the average of the expanded powder is 35--55 {micro}m, with a few large microballoons approaching 150--200 p.m. A processing method was developed that established a pre-mixed combination of unexpanded and expanded Expancel at a ratio such that the tap (or vibration) density of the mixed powders was the same as that desired of the final part. Upon heating above the tack temperature of the polymer, this zero-rise approach allowed only expansion of the unexpanded powder to fill the interstices between the pre-expanded balloons. The mechanical action of the expanding powder combined with the elevated processing temperature yielded flee-standing and mechanically robust parts. Although mechanical properties of these foams were not a key performance requirement, the data allowed for the determination of the best temperature to heat the samples. Processing the foam at higher temperatures enhanced both modulus and strength. The maximum allowable temperature was limited by dimensional stability and shrinkback considerations. Tomographic analysis of foam billets revealed very flat density profiles. Parts of any density between the low density expanded powder (approximately 0.013 g/cm{sup 3}) and the higher density unexpanded powder (approximately 0.5 g/cm{sup 3}) can be produced using this technique. The extremely wide range of accessible densities, ease of processing, relatively inexpensive materials, uniformity of the density, scaleable nature of the process should make this technology highly competitive for a variety of Defense Programs and commercial applications.},
doi = {10.2172/760518},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/760518}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2000},
month = {8}
}