Learning Center  Surfactant

No. 6

No chemistry required (it would not hurt to know some)


Some chemistry or physics required

Surfactants fulfill the function of stabilizing the foam structure during foaming of a polyurethane foam. These surfactants are capable of lowering the surface tension of the polyol and in addition they are capable of stabilizing the foam structure. One important requirement for a good surfactant is the formation of viscous surface layers. Silicone block polymer offer for most applications the ideal surfactant properties.   

Silicone. Most of the silicone surfactants are either methylsilane- ethylene oxide or propylene oxide block polymer. The end groups on the polyether chain can be a reactive hydroxyl group or can be capped with an alkoxy  group. Polyethers capped with an alkoxy group are not reactive with isocyanates and can be used also as a surfactant in the isocyanate.   

Non-silicone. Block copolymer of butylene oxide and propylene oxide are an example of non-silicone surfactants. Both end groups can be blocked for use as surfactant with isocyanates .  

Last edited on:

November 23, 2006

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