Fabrication and Testing of Soy-Based Polyurethane Foam for Insulation and Structural Applications


This study is focused on the fabrication and evaluation of polyurethane (PU) foam fabricated using soy-based polyol that can potentially replace conventional petroleum-based PU foam for thermal applications. Rigid soy-based PU foam samples investigated in this study were produced by copolymerization of diisocyanate with soy-based polyol in presence of Xiameter X0193 surfactant, dibutyltin dilaurate (DBTL) as a catalyst, and water as a blowing agent. Different formulations with varying amounts of blowing agent and catalyst were investigated to optimize the mechanical and thermal properties of soy-based PU foam when compared to commercial petroleum-based foam as a control sample. The prepared samples were tested for density, compressive strength, thermal conductivity, tensile strength, dimensional stability, and thermal stability using the ASTM standards. The cellular structure of the fabricated foam samples was investigated using scanning electron microscopy. It was observed that an increase in density leads to a decrease in insulation. Overall, soy-based foams exhibited similar thermal conductivity as compared to petroleum-based foams.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department


Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Second Research Center/Lab

Center for Research in Energy and Environment (CREE)

Third Research Center/Lab

Center for High Performance Computing Research


This work is supported by the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (Jefferson City, MO).

Keywords and Phrases

Insulation foam; Rigid foam; Soy-based polyol; Soy-based polyurethane foam

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1566-2543; 1572-8900

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2019 Springer New York LLC, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2019