AbstractIn this article, the chemical foaming of fluorinated ethylene propylene copolymers (FEP) is investigated. For the laboratory scale foam extrusion process, a chemical blowing agent adapted to the high melting temperature of FEP had to be found. Foaming experiments were carried out varying process and material parameters. Foam densities as well as cellular structures were analyzed to characterize how the parameters influence the foaming behavior of the FEP melt. An increasing rate of the foam extrusion caused an augmentation of cell numbers at a simultaneous decrease of their diameters. Moreover, a pronounced reduction of the foam density with increasing output rate could be observed. Changing the temperature of the foam extrusion, an optimum in density reduction and homogeneity of the cell size was found. Furthermore, the influence of an appropriate nucleation agent on the resulting geometry and amount of cells was investigated. Though the chemical blowing agent itself can act as an implement for nucleating cell growth, an addition of 10 wt% of calcium fluoride particles showed a significant augmentation in cell quantity. For the chemical foam extrusion process, three FEP with different viscosities were characterized. With decreasing viscosity, a reduction in foam density could be observed for all temperatures. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 47:1740–1749, 2007. © 2007 Society of Plastics Engineers

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