Thermoformable Melamine Foam
Foams made from melamine resin are lightweight, temperature-resistant and withstand many chemicals. With a new, thermoformable version of this foam, production costs can be reduced considerably.
Melamine resin foams are normally thermosets and cannot be formed when heated. With Basotect TG, BASF has now introduced a thermoformable foam for the first time. The good thermoreactivity of the new foam material permits production of three-dimensional parts for acoustic (soundproofing) applications via hot pressing of the precut foam blanks together with nonwoven material in a single operation. Previously, the precut blanks had to first be impregnated with thermoreactive crosslinking agents. Calculations indicate that manufacturing costs can be reduced by as much as 20 % with this new process.
Melamine foam resins are characterised by good resistance to fuel, oil, grease, alcohol and solvents. Compared to flexible PUR foams, they exhibit long-term thermal stability that is attributable to the tightly crosslinked molecular structure. The high nitrogen content of the resin makes the foam extremely flame-resistant naturally without the addition of flame retardants. Because of its very low density of only 9kg/m3, melamine resin foam – together with the considerably more expensive polyimide foams – is one of the lightest foam on the market. Melamine resin foams are excellent sound absorbers and have very low thermal conductivity.
As a consequence of their special characteristics, melamine resin foams find application in a number of very different fields. They are especially well-suited as sound absorbers to optimise the acoustics in buildings. Laminated with nonwovens for use in the engine compartment, they provide the desired level of acoustical comfort in automobiles. Recent developments include aircraft seating of PU-MF foam hybrids with a core of melamine resin foam. Because of the high temperature resistance and low thermal conductivity, steam lines and tanks are insulated with melamine resin foam. A completely new application has been found in the form of cleaning sponges. Lightly moistened, the foam removes stubborn dirt without the use of cleaning agents and restores the original surface gloss.