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High-performance Foams Fill Growing Market Niche

SpecialChem / Jun 1, 2005

The demand for high-performance plastic foams is expanding across a broad swath of market sectors, including transportation, electronics, healthcare, industrial equipment, consumer appliances, building and construction, footwear and sporting goods. The main reason is that these materials offer the light weight and cushioning properties of conventional foams, plus various combinations of special features, such as exceptional strength, heat and flame resistance, sound damping, chemical inertness and biocompatibility. Polymers used in high-performance foams include polyurethanes, polyolefins, silicones, fluoropolymers, styrenics and engineering resins. Some of these materials possess intrinsically superior mechanical, thermal or chemical properties; others are made that way by chemical modifications in their polymer chains, crosslinking treatments, or the use of special additives. Foaming of high-performance materials is done with standard methods such as chemical blowing agents and physical blowing agents (hydrocarbons or fluorocarbons are typical ones).

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