The cellular structure of foams plays a crucial role in many properties and, consequently, in many applications of these materials. Thermal conductivity, mechanical properties, surface quality, or acoustic performance, among others, strongly depend on cellular structure characteristics such as average cell size, cell wall thickness, fraction of mass in the struts, gradients in cellular structure, etc. This applies for a wide variety of foams: rigid or flexible polyurethane, extruded or expanded polystyrene, polyolefins, PVC foams, rubber foams, food foams, etc.

However, the accurate characterization of the cellular structure of these materials in a short time is not a simple task.

In this webinar, we will first explain the key parameters that need to be measured to quantify the cellular structure of foams and the main techniques that can be used. Then, we will focus on optical microscopy. This method is a very simple and direct approach.

However, several aspects need to be considered, such as sample preparation, how to provide enough contrast to the optical micrographs, and how to analyze the micrograph to obtain quantitative information. We will explain how we deal with these critical aspects to obtain the parameters describing the cellular structure: average cell size, cell size distribution, anisotropy ratio, homogeneity of the cellular structure, cell density, etc.

With our current approach, we can obtain accurate quantitative information of a given sample (based on any type of polymeric matrix) in less than 5 minutes (including sample preparation and image analysis). This very short time opens the possibility of using this information to act on the production process in real-time. Besides, the approach that we will explain can also be used for quality control purposes or R&D activities.

  • Tuesday, February 23rd 2021 at 10:00 CEST Madrid
  • Thursday, February 235th 2021 at 16:00 CEST Madrid