Supercritical Water could revolutionise the production of PMMA foams
The EU-funded Siphony project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between polymer science and the thermodynamics and process engineering of supercritical fluids. The project plans to use supercritical water in the foaming process of polymethyl methacrylate. Supercritical Water shows unique properties that bring promising features to the process - notably its high efficiency as solvent, stability, low toxicity and no environmental impact. Together with carbon dioxide, it will increase the efficiency of the plastic's chemical swelling and increase the thermodynamic energy of explosion by approximately six times compared to carbon dioxide on its own. The proposed process aims to create an exceptionally soft nanocellular polymer of approximately 10 times lower density that can shift the insulation industry's focus to developing lighter-weight eco-friendly products.