Albany, New York -- Momentive Performance Materials has collaborated with Cargill on the development of a new surfactant that enables foam manufacturers to supply flexible foam with increased renewable content to foam fabricators and producers of home furnishings and bedding.
Momentive says its Niax silicone L-670 surfactant allows increased use of natural oil-based polyols (NOPs) in foam production. In addition to increasing foam's renewable content by up to 30 percent over current levels, the companies say that replacement of the standard silicone surfactant with Niax L-670 in formulations using NOPs can result in enhanced foam properties and processing, including improved IFD (foam hardness) and compression set (permanent deformation of foam) values and greater elongation, tensile and tear strength.
Using Niax L-670 in conjunction with Cargill's renewable, soyabean oil-based BiOH polyols, foam manufacturers can reduce their use of petroleum-based polyols.
According to a joint statement issued by the collaborators, polyols are the main ingredient in flexible foam used in upholstered furniture cushioning, mattresses and pillows, and other consumer products.
Working with Cargill "demonstrates how the sustainability strategies of suppliers and their customers can be integrated to produce meaningful results," said Tony Lanchak, global business director, Urethane Additives, with Momentive, in the statement. "It is ... a matter of pride that, as the company which brought the first non-hydrolysable silicone surfactant for polyurethane foams to market, we should be the first to introduce this important new surfactant as well," Lanchak added.
The percentage of soya-based content which can be added depends on the type of foam and how it is manufactured. Lowering the percentage of petroleum components can be positive for the environment by reducing the potential for petroleum hydrocarbons and reducing dependence on crude oil. For every 1 million pounds (454 tonnes) of Cargill BiOH polyols used in furniture and mattresses, for example, more than 92 000 gallons 348 300 litres) of petroleum are saved.
"As the leading producer of natural oil polyols to the flexible foam industry, we are committed to offering customers products that have a smaller environmental footprint," said Yusuf Wazirzada, business unit leader, Cargill Biobased, also in the joint statement.
"By developing technology that pushes the limits of what is possible, Momentive is helping us meet the customer need for foam products that are focused on the exciting new consumer trend around sustainability," Wazirzada added.
Niax L-670 achieves this by increasing the compatibility of natural oil-based and petroleum-based polyols in foam formulations. Moreover, as a flame retardant (FR) surfactant, it can help foam manufacturers achieve cost savings by reducing the amount of FR additive required to pass flammability tests.
Momentive said the company has earned the prestigious Herman Stone Technical Excellence Award for the development of Niax L-670 surfactant.