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Chetna Khosla, Andrew B. Jackson, Peter S. White,

Isocyanate - Wikipedia

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The polyols used are either hydroxyl-terminated polyethers (in about 90% of total polyurethane manufacture) or hydroxyl-terminated polyesters. They have been developed to have the necessary reactivity with the isocyanate that will be used and to produce polyurethanes with specific properties.

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It is expensive to produce this mixture in different proportions. It means purifying the mixture of the nitromethylbenzenes, NMB, by very careful distillation.

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Some examples of the main reasons for choosing polyurethanes as shown in Table 1.

Soya bean oil contains triglycerides of long chain saturated and unsaturated carboxylic acids, which, after hydrogenation, can, on reaction with epoxypropane, form a mixture of polyols suitable for the manufacture of a wide range of polyurethanes. The use of these biopols means that at least part of the polymer is derived from renewable sources.

If the polyol has two hydroxyl groups and is mixed with either TDI or MDI, a linear polymer is produced. For example, a linear polyurethane is produced by reaction with a diisocyanate and the simplest diol, ethane-1,2-diol, a occurs:

The mixture of diisocyanates known as TDI consists of two isomers:

If the polyol has more than two reactive hydroxyl groups, adjacent long-chain molecules become linked at intermediate points. These crosslinks create a stiffer polymer structure with improved mechanical characteristics which is exploited in the development of 'rigid' polyurethanes. Thus a diisocyanate, such as MDI or TDI which reacts with a polyol with three hydroxyl groups, such as one derived from propane-1,2,3-triol and epoxyethane, undergoes crosslinking and forms a rigid .

An example of a polyol with two hydroxyl groups (ie a long chain diol) is one made from (propylene oxide), by interaction with propane-1,2-diol, (which itself is formed from epoxypropane, by hydrolysis):

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    Molecular Formula:

  • Date last amended: 24th April 2017

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    Molecular Weight:

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A shoe sole, for example, may be 'blown' to double the volume of solid polymer. This process is so versatile that the expansion can be taken much further. In low-density foams for upholstery or thermal insulation less than 3% of the total volume is polyurethane. The gas has expanded the original volume occupied by the liquid by 30 to 40 times. In the case of cushions, only just enough solid polymer is needed to ensure that we can sit comfortably.

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The synthesis of rigid-rod, helical isocyanate-based macromonomers was achieved through the polymerization of hexyl isocyanate and 4-phenylbutyl isocyanate, initiated by an -norbornene functionalized half-titanocene complex. Sequential ruthenium-mediated ring-opening metathesis polymerization of these macromonomers readily afforded well-defined brush block copolymers, with precisely tunable molecular weights ranging from high (1512 kDa) to ultrahigh (7119 kDa), while maintaining narrow molecular weight distributions (PDI = 1.08–1.39). The self-assembly of these brush block copolymers to solid thin-films and their photonic properties were investigated. Due to the rigid architecture of these novel polymeric materials, they rapidly self-assemble through simple controlled evaporation to photonic crystal materials that reflect light from the ultra-violet, through the visible, to the near-infrared. The wavelength of reflectance is linearly related to the brush block copolymer molecular weight, allowing for predictable tuning of the band gap through synthetic control of the polymer molecular weight. A combination of scanning electron microscopy and optical modeling was employed to explain the origin of reflectivity.

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In thermal insulation, it is the gas trapped in the cells which insulates. The polymer that encloses the cells reduces the insulation efficiency, so it makes sense to have as little of it as possible.

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A tiny amount of air is dispersed through the mixture of polyisocyanate and polyol. This provides nucleation seeds for the multitude of gas bubbles that are produced throughout the polymer. Heat makes the bubbles expand until the chemical reaction changes the liquid to solid polymer, and the available gas pressure cannot create any further expansion.

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