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Article

Insights into the Bead Fusion Mechanism of Expanded Polybutylene Terephthalate (E-PBT)

1
Department of Polymer Engineering, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstraße 30, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
2
Bavarian Polymer Institute and Bayreuth Institute of Macromolecular Research, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstraße 30, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dario Cavallo
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 582; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040582
Received: 27 January 2021 / Revised: 8 February 2021 / Accepted: 11 February 2021 / Published: 15 February 2021
Expandable polystyrene (EPS) and expanded polypropylene (EPP) dominate the bead foam market. As the low thermal performance of EPS and EPP limits application at elevated temperatures novel solutions such as expanded polybutylene terephthalate (E-PBT) are gaining importance. To produce parts, individual beads are typically molded by hot steam. While molding of EPP is well-understood and related to two distinct melting temperatures, the mechanisms of E-PBT are different. E-PBT shows only one melting peak and can surprisingly only be molded when adding chain extender (CE). This publication therefore aims to understand the impact of thermal properties of E-PBT on its molding behavior. Detailed differential scanning calorimetry was performed on neat and chain extended E-PBT. The crystallinity of the outer layer and center of the bead was similar. Thus, a former hypothesis that a completely amorphous bead layer enables molding, was discarded. However, the incorporation of CE remarkably reduces the crystallization and re-crystallization rate. As a consequence, the time available for interdiffusion of chains across neighboring beads increases and facilitates crystallization across the bead interface. For E-PBT bead foams, it is concluded that sufficient time for polymer interdiffusion during molding is crucial and requires adjusted crystallization kinetics. View Full-Text
Keywords: bead foam; fusion mechanism; crystallization; expanded polybutylene terephthalate; E-PBT; crystallization kinetics; Avrami; steam chest molding; chain extender; fusion bead foam; fusion mechanism; crystallization; expanded polybutylene terephthalate; E-PBT; crystallization kinetics; Avrami; steam chest molding; chain extender; fusion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kuhnigk, J.; Raps, D.; Standau, T.; Luik, M.; Altstädt, V.; Ruckdäschel, H. Insights into the Bead Fusion Mechanism of Expanded Polybutylene Terephthalate (E-PBT). Polymers 2021, 13, 582. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040582

AMA Style

Kuhnigk J, Raps D, Standau T, Luik M, Altstädt V, Ruckdäschel H. Insights into the Bead Fusion Mechanism of Expanded Polybutylene Terephthalate (E-PBT). Polymers. 2021; 13(4):582. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040582

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kuhnigk, Justus, Daniel Raps, Tobias Standau, Marius Luik, Volker Altstädt, and Holger Ruckdäschel. 2021. "Insights into the Bead Fusion Mechanism of Expanded Polybutylene Terephthalate (E-PBT)" Polymers 13, no. 4: 582. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040582

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