Super-foaming of polymers by combination of Carbon Dioxide and Water in sub and supercritical state.
Siphony is a disruptive project created from a Breakthrough Materials Coalition between the team led by Dr. Danilo Cantero and CellMat Lab, both in the Institute of Bioeconomy at the University of Valladolid. This is an interdisciplinary venture involving the physics and chemistry of polymers and the thermodynamics and process engineering of supercritical fluids. Sub and supercritical water will be merged to the use of carbon dioxide in the foaming of PolyMethyl MethAcrylate(PMMA). The innovative and never seen before addition of sub and supercritical water will create benefits in the chemical swelling of the polymer and the addition of thermodynamic energy of expansion, approximately 5-6 times more than carbon dioxide itself. With this, it is expected to achieve the supplemental force and material softening to reach an outstanding nano cellular polymer of very low density (10 times reduction of density compared to the initial polymer) and very high pores density (>1013pores/cm3). This kind of materials have outstanding properties as insulators (thermal and acoustic) with applications in many fields of industry. The proposed invention, the Siphony process, will create an exceptional rated polymer that will revolutionize the insulation industry by dropping insulators’ weight and increasing the heat transfer resistance keeping their required mechanical properties. Siphony also involves the application of the revolutionary concept invented by Dr. Danilo Cantero: theContinuous Sudden Expansion Reactor. The application of this technology to the foaming process of PMMA will bring unconventional properties to the product as well as to the process of foaming. This technology has demonstrated accurate control of residence time and temperature in a continuous mode. In this project, the technology will be redesigned to maximize the water/carbon dioxide dissolution in PMMA and the water/carbon dioxide expansion by sudden isenthalpic decompression. Also, the high level of shear that is incorporated by this process will be optimized to generate the best performing combination of PMMA particle size and cells size.