Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, Vol.41, No.3, 258-268, 2003
Study of slabstock flexible polyurethane foams based on varied toluene diisocyanate isomer ratios
The morphological features of three flexible slabstock polyurethane foams based on varied contents of 2,4 and 2,6 toluene diisocyanate (TDI) isomers are investigated. The three commercially available TDI mixtures, that is, 65:35 2,4/2,6 TDI, 80:20 2,4/2,6 TDI, and 100:0 2,4/2,6 TDI were used. The foams were characterized at different length scales with several techniques. Differences in the cellular structure of the foams were noted with scanning electron microscopy. Small-angle X-ray scattering was used to demonstrate that all three foams were microphase-separated and possessed similar interdomain spacings. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that the aggregation of the urea phase into large urea-rich regions decreased systematically on increasing the asymmetric TDI isomer content. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed that the level of bidentate hydrogen bonding of the hard segments increased with the 2,6 TDI isomer content. Differential scanning calorimetry and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) were used to note changes in the soft-segment glass-transition temperature of the foams on varying the diisocyanate ratios and suggested that the perfection of microphase separation was enhanced on increasing the 2,6 TDI isomer content. The preceding observations were used to explain why the foam containing the highest content of the symmetric 2,6 TDI isomer exhibited the highest rubbery storage modulus, as measured by DMA.