Accelerated ageing and degradation characteristics of rigid polyurethane foam
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2017

The urgent need for revision of the normative test method (EN 253) for the lifetime prediction of district
heating pipes requires a better understanding of the failure mechanisms involved. Therefore, various
methods were used to study thermal degradation characteristics of rigid polyurethane (PUR) foam in
both air and nitrogen atmosphere. Accelerated ageing in nitrogen caused insignificant changes, whereas
ageing in air caused significant changes in weight, dimensions, chemical structure and cell gas composition,
indicating importance of the thermo-oxidative type of degradation. A clear indication of the
thermo-oxidative type of degradation was the formation of new carbonyl groups in PUR together with
the loss of CH2 groups after ageing in air. Another result of ageing in air was the loss of pentane and
cyclopentane, and the formation of some new volatile compounds in the cells of PUR foam. However,
despite a large difference in degradation characteristics between the samples aged in air and in nitrogen,
no significant difference in the flexural strength of PUR foam was recorded during the induction stage of
the degradation process. Furthermore, it is shown that the significant drop in shear strength, which
reflects the adhesion force between PUR foam and steel pipe, observed during the early stage of
accelerated ageing of district heating pipes is not caused by thermo-oxidative degradation.

Polyurethane foam

Lifetime prediction

District heating pipe


Accelerated ageing


Nazdaneh Yarahmadi

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Alberto Vega


Ignacy Jakubowicz

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Polymer Degradation and Stability

0141-3910 (ISSN)

Vol. 138 192-200




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