After two years of intensive research, BASF is now able to present prototypes of the world’s first particle foam based on polyethersulfone (PESU)
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The foam is characterised by its unique combination of properties: high-temperature resistance, inherent flame retardancy, and its extreme light weight coupled with great stiffness and strength.
It is, therefore, particularly well-suited for complexshaped components in cars, airplanes and trains, which require excellent mechanical properties together with the ability to withstand high operating temperatures, or to meet stringent flame-retardant requirements.
The expandable PESU granulate is pre-foamed into beads with low densities between 40 and 120g/l and can be processed into moulded parts with complex 3D geometries using technologies available in the market.
Ultrason E, the PESU of BASF, is an amorphous thermoplastic with an extraordinary temperature profile. It has a high glass transition temperature of 225°C and remains dimensionally stable up to this temperature. Its excellent mechanical and dielectric properties are only slightly dependent on the temperature, too. Foams made of Ultrason E are approved for use in aircraft.
The material, with its exceptionally high limiting oxygen index of 38 (according to ASTM D 2863), distinguishes itself because it meets the requirements for commercial aircraft with regard to combustibility, low heat release and low smoke density (‘fire, smoke, toxicity’) even without the addition of flame retardants, which means it is intrinsically flame retardant.
Despite its low density, the PESU particle foam thus enables extremely stiff and strong components with excellent dimensional stability at high temperatures. Expanded moulded parts made from one single material offer numerous advantages compared to traditional honeycomb structures coated with phenolic resins.
BASF has developed the world’s first particle foam based on polyethersulfone.