Role of Additives in Fabrication of Soy-Based Rigid Polyurethane Foam for Structural and Thermal Insulation Applications


Environmental concerns continue to pose the challenge to replace petroleum-based products with renewable ones completely or at least partially while maintaining comparable properties. Herein, rigid polyurethane (PU) foams were prepared using soy-based polyol for structural and thermal insulation applications. Cell size, density, thermal resistivity, and compression force deflection (CFD) values were evaluated and compared with that of petroleum-based PU foam Baydur 683. The roles of different additives, that is, catalyst, blowing agent, surfactants, and different functionalities of polyol on the properties of fabricated foam were also investigated. For this study, dibutyltin dilaurate was employed as catalyst and water as environment friendly blowing agent. Their competitive effect on density and cell size of the PU foams were evaluated. Five different silicone-based surfactants were employed to study the effect of surface tension on cell size of foam. It was also found that 5 g of surfactant per 100 g of polyol produced a foam with minimum surface tension and highest thermal resistivity (R value: 26.11 m2·K/W). However, CFD values were compromised for higher surfactant loading. Additionally, blending of 5 g of higher functionality soy-based polyol improved the CFD values to 328.19 kPa, which was comparable to that of petroleum-based foam Baydur 683.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department


Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research


Published online: 30 Jun 2021

Support for this research was provided by Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (JeffersonCity, MO, USA), US Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation (HRD - 1839895).

Keywords and Phrases

Biopolymers and Renewable Polymers; Mechanical Properties; Polyurethane; Structure-Property Relationships; Thermal Properties

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0021-8995; 1097-4628

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2021 Wiley, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

05 Dec 2021