Foamed and Coloured TPU Pellets

Patent Title: PROCESS FOR DYEING AND FOAMING THERMOPLASTIC POLYURETHANE

 Number/Link: WO2018/091446

Applicant/Assignee:  Huntsman

Publication date: 24 May 2018

Gist”: TPU pellets are both coloured and foamed using supercritical carbon dioxide.

Why it is interesting: According to this invention, coloured and foamed thermoplastic polyurethanes can be prepared by saturating TPU pellets (in an autoclave under controlled temperature and pressure) with supercritical CO2 together with a dye.  After impregnation is complete the pressure is dropped at a temperature between the TPU’s Tg and Tm, resulting in expanded TPU pellets or ‘beads’.  The process has the advantage of allowing for the use of a wider range of dyes as compared to conventional pigment-based colours. The TPU beads are said to be especially useful for the production of shoe-soles colour-matched with textiles.

azo compound

Typical azo compound used in dispersion dyes

Low Density Foamed TPU

Patent Title: FOAMED THERMOPLASTIC POLYURETHANE AND MICROWAVE MOLDED ARTICLE THEREOF

 Number/Link: US2017/0073490

Applicant/Assignee: Sunko Ink; Tayin R&D

Publication date: 16-mar-2017

Gist”: Blown TPU pellets are subjected to a second foaming process using microwaves

Why it is interesting: Thermoplastic polyurethane is extruded together with an excess of blowing agent using a single screw extruder and a pelletizer. The foamed pellets are then put in a mould together with water and subjected to microwave radiation which causes the pellets to expand and sinter into a moulded part. In the examples expandable microspheres are used as blowing agent in amounts of 5 to 25 php of TPU. The pellets are irradiated for 20 to 180 s at a power of up to 5000 W. Moulded densities as low as 170 kg/m³ are achieved.

SEM picture of moulded TPU according to the invention