Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Mechanism of Roughness-induced CO2 Microbubble Nucleation in Polypropylene Foaming


Within the framework of classical density functional theory, the thermodynamic driving forces for CO2 microbubble nucleation have been quantitatively evaluated in foaming of polypropylene containing amorphous and crystalline structures. After addition of fluorinated polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane particles into polypropylene matrix, we construct different composite surfaces with nanoscale roughness for bubble nucleation. Meanwhile, as the dissolved CO2 molecules increase, the corresponding CO2/PP binary melts can be formulated in the systems. Due to the roughness effect coupled with the weak interactions of particle–PP, PP chains in the binary melts are depleted from the surfaces, leading to significantly enhancement of osmotic pressure in the depletion regions. During the foaming process, large numbers of dissolved CO2 molecules are squeezed into the regions, thus the local supersaturations have been dramatically improved, and the energy barriers for bubble nucleation have been dramatically reduced. Moreover, when the nanocomposite surfaces display ordered nanoscale patterns, the energy barriers can be further reduced to their respective minimum values, and the bubble number densities reach their maximum. Accordingly, the bubble number densities can be enhanced by 4 or 5 orders of magnitude for bubbles nucleated on the crystalline or amorphous PP nanocomposite surface. In contrast, when the foaming pressure is increased from 15 to 20 MPa, the elevated bubble number density in foaming PP matrix is less than one order of magnitude. As a result, the enhancement of local supersaturation induced by the controlled nanoscale roughness is much more effective than that of bulk supersaturation given by high pressure.

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 06 May 2017, accepted on 13 Jul 2017 and first published on 13 Jul 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CP02988H
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
  •   Request permissions

    Mechanism of Roughness-induced CO2 Microbubble Nucleation in Polypropylene Foaming

    L. Wang, W. Zhang, X. Wang, J. Mi, J. ma and Z. Du, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7CP02988H

Search articles by author