The use of renewable substitutes in various semi-structural and structural applications has experienced an increase since the last few decades. Sandwich panels have been used for many decades, although research on understanding the effects of the core structures on the panels’ fire-reaction properties is limited. The current work investigates the fire-performance of a corrugated sandwich panel made from renewable, biodegradable, and sustainable material, plywood. The bench-scale fire testing apparatus, cone-calorimeter, was employed to evaluate the required fire-reaction properties of the sandwich core in a panel configuration, with three corrugated layers glued together with face-sheets under a heat irradiance of 50 kW/m2. The study helped in documenting a unique heat release trend associated with the fire performance of the 3-layered corrugated sandwich panels and in understanding the structural stability of the samples in the event of a fire. Furthermore, the total peak heat release rate was observed to be around 421 kW/m2, which is significantly low compared to many polymeric materials in the literature. The total smoke production was also perceived to be very limited compared to other structural materials, and the total heat release was also nominal. The time to ignition of 21.7 s further outlined the advantages of using the plywood component since polymeric composites, even with flame-retardant additives, tend to ignite faster. Overall, the corrugated plywood sandwich panels had significant fire-reaction properties and could have important structural applications. The possible use of structural panels made from bio-degradable material opens a new avenue for the use of similar structures in sandwich panel preparation.
The current applied asphalt technology for Kuwait roads pavement infrastructure is the hot mix asphalt (HMA) pavement, including both pen grade and polymer modified bitumen (PMBs), that is produced and compacted at high temperature levels ranging from 150 to 180 °C. There are no current specifications for warm and cold mix asphalts in Kuwait’s Ministry of Public Works (MPW) asphalt standard and specifications. The process of the conventional HMA is energy intensive and directly responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases and other environmental hazards into the atmosphere leading to significant environmental impacts and raising health risk to labors at site. Warm mix asphalt (WMA) technology, a sustainable alternative preferred in multiple countries, has many environmental advantages because it requires lower production temperatures than HMA by 20 to 40 °C. The reduction of temperatures achieved by WMA originates from multiple technologies including foaming and chemical or organic additives that aim to reduce bitumen and improve mix workability. This paper presents a literature review of WMA technologies and techniques followed by an experimental study aiming to compare the results of produced WMA samples, using a water containing additive (foaming process), at different compaction temperatures with the HMA control volumetric properties mix designed in accordance to the new MPW’s specifications and guidelines.
Forming processes induce residual deformations on the reinforcement and sometimes lead to mesoscopic defects, which are more recurrent than macroscopic defects during the manufacture of complex structural parts. This study deals with the influence of the fabric shear and buckles defects, which appear during draping processes of composite, on the impact behavior of a glass fiber reinforced polymer. To achieve this aim, we produced several specimens with different amplitude of deformations (shear) and defects on the fabric using a specific bench. The specimens were manufactured using the contact molding and tested with several impact energies. The results and measurements made on tested specimens were compared to those of the healthy material. The results showed that the buckle defects have a negative effect on elastic parameters and revealed a larger damage with significant out-of-plane mode relatively to the healthy composite material. This effect is the consequence of a local fiber impoverishment and a disorganization of the fibrous network, with a reorientation of the fibers following the out-of-plane buckling of the yarns, in the area where the defects are located. For the material with calibrated shear of the reinforcement, the increased local fiber rate due to the shear deformations and the contribution to stiffness of the transverse yarns led to an increase in mechanical properties.
Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composites enjoy an array of applications ranging from aerospace, marine and military to automobile, recreational and civil industry due to their outstanding properties. A structural glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) composite sandwich panel made from E-glass fiber skin and a modified phenolic core has been manufactured in Australia for civil engineering applications. One of the major mechanisms of damage in FRP composites is skin-core debonding. The presence of debonding is of great concern not only because it severely affects the strength but also it modifies the dynamic characteristics of the structure, including natural frequency and vibration modes. This paper deals with the investigation of the dynamic characteristics of a GFRP beam with single and multiple debonding by finite element based numerical simulations and analyses using the STRAND7 finite element (FE) software package. Three-dimensional computer models have been developed and numerical simulations were done to assess the dynamic behavior. The FE model developed has been validated with published experimental, analytical and numerical results for fully bonded as well as debonded beams. A comparative analysis is carried out based on a comprehensive parametric investigation. It is observed that the reduction in natural frequency is more affected by single debonding than the equally sized multiple debonding regions located symmetrically to the single debonding position. Thus it is revealed that a large single debonding area leads to more damage in terms of natural frequency reduction than isolated small debonding zones of equivalent area, appearing in the GFRP beam. Furthermore, the extents of natural frequency shifts seem mode-dependent and do not seem to have a monotonous trend of increasing with the mode numbers.
Bacterial Cellulose (BC) is a structural organic compound produced in the anaerobic process. This material can be a useful eco-friendly substitute for commercial textiles that are used in industries today. BC is easily and sustainably produced and has the capabilities to be used as a replacement in textiles. However, BC is extremely fragile when it completely dries. This research was conducted to improve the mechanical properties of the BC by reinforcing with an organic polymer and exfoliated graphite (EG). The BC films were grown over a period of weeks in a green tea and kombucha solution at 30 °C, then cleaned and added to an enhancing solution. The enhancing solutions were a mixture of 2.5 wt% polymer and 2.5 wt% latex solution, a 5 wt% polymer solution, a 0.20 wt% graphite solution and were each allowed to sit in a furnace for 48 h at 50 °C. Tensile test samples were prepared and tested until fracture at a strain rate of 8 mm/min. From the research with the addition of a 5 wt% polymer solution, the flexibility of the BC has significantly improved with the maximum strain significantly larger than that of the base sample. The addition of EG has also increased the modulus of elasticity of the BC by about 25%.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, sportswear has a major contribution to the impact of fashion on our lives. Nowadays, the embracing of sportswear fashion/looks is undoubtedly noticeable, as the modern consumer searches for high comfort and linear aesthetics for its clothes. This compromise lead to the arise of the athleisure trend. Athleisure surges as a new style area that combines both wearability and fashion sense, differentiated from the archetypal sportswear, usually associated to “gym clothes”. Additionally, the possibility to functionalize and implement new technologies have shifted and progressively empowers the connection between the concepts of physical activities practice and well-being, allowing clothing to be more interactive and responsive with its surroundings. In this study, a design inspired in retro and urban lifestyle was envisioned, engineering textile structures that can respond to external stimuli. These structures are enhanced to be responsive to heat, water vapor and humidity, integrating shape memory polymers (SMP) to improve the breathability and heat-responsive behavior of the textiles and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) to heighten the surface hydrophobic properties. The best results for hydrophobic exhibited superhydrophobic behavior with water contact angle (WAC) of more than 150 degrees. For the breathability and heat-response properties, SMP-coated samples showed an increase in water vapour permeability values of about 50% when compared with non SMP-coated samples. These innovative technological approaches were endorsed to design innovative clothing, in line with circular economy and eco-design principles, by assigning a substantial degree of mutability and versatility to the clothing. The development of a coat and shirt, in which different parts can be purchased separately to create multiple products, aims to combine the technicality of both the fabrics used and the making of the garments. This concept translates itself into a real constructive mechanism through the symbiosis of high-tech functionalities and the timeless design that follows the athleisure aesthetics.
The work on indigenous binders in this paper focused on the following indigenous raw materials: red clay, red lava and pumice (as primary aluminosilicate precursors), wood ash and gypsum (as supplementary minerals), and sodium sulfate and lime (as alkali activators). The experimental methods used for evaluation of these indigenous raw materials included laser granulometry, x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy, and chemical reactivity. Formulations were devised for transforming these raw materials into alkali aluminosilicate-based hydraulic cements. These formulations were processed into hydraulic cements via simple heating and milling actions to render thermal activation, mechanochemical and size reduction effects. The resulting hydraulic cements were subjected to laser granulometry, heat of hydration and reactivity tests. These cements were also used to prepare mortar mixtures, which were evaluated via performance of compressive strength tests. The measured values of strength were correlated with the reactivity, size distribution and microstructural features of raw materials. Some of the indigenous hydraulic cements produced in this reporting period yielded viable levels of compressive strength. The correlation trends established in this work are being evaluated for development of simple and thorough methods of qualifying indigenous raw materials for use in production of indigenous hydraulic cements.
The rapid industrialisation and population growth have led to a steady fall in freshwater supplies worldwide. As a result, water systems are affected by modern methods upon use due to secondary contamination. The application of novel adsorbents derived from natural polymer holds a great promise in addressing challenges in water treatment. In this study, the UV irradiation technique was used to prepare acrylamide (AAm) monomer, and acrylic acid (AA) monomer grafted xanthan gum (XG) copolymer. Furthermore, the factors affecting rhodamine B (RhB) adsorption from aqueous media, such as pH, dosage, concentration, and time were also investigated. The FTIR results confirmed the formation of graft copolymer by the strong vibrational bands at 1709 cm-1 and 1612 cm-1 for AA and AAm, respectively. Additionally, more irregular, porous and wrinkled surface observed from SEM of XG-g-AAm/AA indicated copolymerization interaction of monomers. The optimum conditions for removing RhB dye with a maximum adsorption capacity of 313 mg/g at 25 0C from aqueous solution were pH approximately 5, initial dye concentration = 200 ppm, adsorbent dose = 30 mg. Also, the detailed investigation of the isothermal and adsorption kinetics of RhB from aqueous solution showed that the adsorption of the dye followed a Freundlich model (R2 = 0.96333) and pseudo-second-order kinetics. The results further indicated that this absorbent based on XG had the universality to remove dye through the mechanism of chemical adsorption. The outstanding adsorption potential of the grafted copolymer could be used to remove cationic dyes from aqueous solution as a low-cost product.
Offshore oil-spill has become the most emerging problem in the world. In the current paper, a graphene/ZnO/polymer nanocomposite thin film is coated on stainless steel mesh via layer by layer deposition method. The structural characterization of materials is determined by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) and separation efficiency have been measured via gas chromatography – flame ionization detector (GC-FID). TPHs are reduced to 2 ppm and separation efficiency of the nanocomposite coated mesh is reached ≥ 99% for the final sample. The nanocomposite coated mesh acts as a promising candidate for the separation of oil- water mixture.
Composite metal–polymer materials, in particular titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) to polyamide (PA6.6), fabricated by laser joining, have gained cogent interest among industries and researchers concerned with aerospace and biomedical applications. This work adopts infrared (IR) thermography technique to investigate effects of laser parameters used in the welding process on the three-dimensional temperature profile at the rear-side of titanium, at the region to be welded with polyamide. Cross sectional analysis of welded joints showed correlations between the morphology of titanium and polyamide at the weld zone with the corresponding temperature profile. In particular, spatial temperature profile was found to be correlated with the laser beam energy density, titanium molten pool width and depth, and polyamide heat affected zone depth.
Insulators are one of the most significant equipment in power system. The insulators’ operation may affect the power flow, line loss and reliability. The electrical parameters that influence the performance of insulator are surface leakage current, corona and dry band arcing. Electric field stresses on the insulator surface will degrade the insulating properties and lead to puncture. Electric filed stresses can be analyzed by numerical methods and experimental evaluation. As per economic aspects, evaluation by numerical methods are best. In outdoor insulation, a hydrophobic surface can facilitate to prevent water film formation on the insulation surface, which is decisive for diminishing leakage currents and partial discharge (PD) under heavy polluted environments and harsh weather conditions. Polymer materials like silicone rubber have an outstanding hydrophobic property among general insulation materials. In this paper, electrical field intensity of 220 kV porcelain and polymer double tension insulator strings at critical regions are analyzed and compared by using Finite Element Method. Hydrophobic conditions of polymer insulator with equal and unequal water molecule conditions are verified by using finite element method.
In recent years, petroleum-based polymers began to be limited due to effects on human and environmental point of view in many countries. Thus, organic-based biodegradable materials have attracted much interest in the composite industry because of environmental concerns. As a result of this, it has been asked that inorganic and petroleum-based materials should be reduced and altered with biodegradable materials. In this point, in this study, it is aimed to investigate the potential of use of TEMPO (2,2,6,6- tetramethylpiperidine 1-oxyl)-mediated oxidation nano-fibrillated cellulose instead of EPDM (ethylene-propylene-diene monomer) rubber, which is a petroleum-based material. Thus, the exchange of petroleum-based EPDM rubber with organic based cellulose nanofibers, which are environmentally friendly (green) and biodegradable, will be realized. The effect of tempo-oxidized cellulose nanofibers (TCNF) instead of EPDM rubber was analyzed by rheological, mechanical, chemical, thermal and aging analyses. The aged surfaces were visually scrutinized and surface morphological changes were examined via scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results obtained showed that TEMPO oxidation nano-fibrillated cellulose can be used at an amount of 1.0 and 2.2 phr resulting the values stay within tolerance according to customer standard and without any chemical degradation, crack, colour change or staining.
Contamination of water, due to the discharge of untreated industrial wastewaters into the ecosystem, has become a serious problem for many countries. In this study, bioadsorbents based on chitosan-g-poly(acrylamide) and montmorillonite (MMt) clay (CTS-g-PAAm/MMt) hydrogel nanocomposites were prepared via free‐radical grafting copolymerization and crosslinking of acrylamide monomer (AAm) onto natural polysaccharide chitosan (CTS) as backbone, in presence of various contents of MMt clay as nanofiller. Then, they were hydrolyzed to obtain highly functionalized pH‐sensitive nanomaterials with uppermost swelling properties. Their structure characterization was conducted by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analyses. The adsorption performances of the developed nanohybrids were examined for removal of methylene blue (MB) cationic dye from aqueous solutions. The factors affecting the removal of MB, such as clay content, pH medium, adsorbent dose, initial dye concentration and temperature were explored. The adsorption process was found to be highly pH dependent. From adsorption kinetic results, the prepared adsorbents showed remarkable adsorption capacity and fast adsorption rate, mainly more than 88% of MB removal efficiency was reached after 50 min in 200 mg L-1 of dye solution. In addition, the incorporating of various content of clay has enhanced adsorption capacity of CTS-g-PAAm matrix from 1685 to a highest value of 1749 mg g-1 for the optimized nanocomposite containing 2 wt.% of MMt. The experimental kinetic data were well described by the pseudo-second-order model, while the equilibrium data were represented perfectly by Langmuir isotherm model. The maximum Langmuir equilibrium adsorption capacity (qm) was found to increase from 2173 mg g−1 until 2221 mg g−1 by adding 2 wt.% of clay nanofiller. Thermodynamic parameters revealed the spontaneous and endothermic nature of the process. In addition, the reusability study revealed that these bioadsorbents could be well regenerated with desorption efficiency overhead 87% and without any obvious decrease of removal efﬁciency as compared to starting ones even after four consecutive adsorption/desorption cycles, which exceeded 64%. These results suggest that the optimized nanocomposites are promising as low cost bioadsorbents.
Loose soils normally are of weak bearing capacity due to their structural nature. Being exposed to heavy traffic loads, they would fail in most cases. To tackle the aforementioned issue, geotechnical engineers have come up with different approaches; one of which is making use of geosynthetic-reinforced soil-aggregate systems. As these polymeric reinforcements have highlighted economic and environmentally-friendly features, they have become widespread in practice during the last decades. The present research investigates the efficiency of four different types of these reinforcements in increasing the bearing capacity of two-layered soil sections using a series California Bearing Ratio (CBR) test. The studied sections are comprised of a 10 cm-thick layer of no. 161 Firouzkooh sand (weak subgrade) and a 10 cm-thick layer of compacted aggregate materials (base course) classified as SP and GW according to the United Soil Classification System (USCS), respectively. The aggregate layer was compacted to the relative density (Dr) of 95% at the optimum water content (Wopt) of 6.5%. The applied reinforcements were including two kinds of geocomposites (type A and B), a geotextile, and a geogrid that were embedded at the interface of the lower and the upper layers of the soil-aggregate system. As the standard CBR mold was not appropriate in height for this study, the mold used for soaked CBR tests were utilized. To make a comparison between the results of stress-settlement behavior in the studied specimens, CBR values pertinent to the penetrations of 2.5 mm and 5 mm were considered. The obtained results demonstrated 21% and 24.5% increments in the amount of CBR value in the presence of geocomposite type A and geogrid, respectively. On the other hand, the effect of both geotextile and geocomposite type B on CBR values was generally insignificant in this research.
This paper presents studies on the development and characterization of nanocomposites based on ethylene-propylene terpolymer rubber (EPDM), chlorobutyl rubber (IIR-Cl) and organically modified montmorillonite (OMMT). Mixtures were made containing 0, 3 and 6 phr (parts per 100 parts rubber) OMMT, respectively. They were obtained by melt intercalation in an internal mixer - Plasti-Corder Brabender, in suitable blending parameters, at high temperature for 11 minutes. Curing agents were embedded on a laboratory roller at 70-100 ºC, friction 1:1.1, processing time 5 minutes. Rubber specimens were obtained by compression, using a hydraulic press at 165 ºC and a pressing force of 300 kN. Curing time, determined using the Monsanto rheometer, decreases with the increased amount of OMMT in the mixtures. At the same time, it was noticed that mixtures containing OMMT show improvement in physical-mechanical properties. These types of nanocomposites may be used to obtain rubber seals for the space application or for other areas of application.
Thermogravimetry has been popularized as a thermal characterization technique since the 1950s. It aims at investigating the weight loss against both reaction time and temperature, whilst being able to characterize the evolved gases from the volatile components of the organic material being tested using an appropriate hyphenated analytical technique. In an effort to characterize and identify the reclaimed waste from an unsanitary landfill site, this approach was initiated. Solid waste (SW) reclaimed from an active landfill site in the State of Kuwait was collected and prepared for characterization in accordance with international protocols. The SW was segregated and its major components were identified after washing and air drying. Shredding and cryomilling was conducted on the plastic solid waste (PSW) component to yield a material that is representative for further testing and characterization. The material was subjected to five heating rates (b) with minimal repeatable weight for high accuracy thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) following the recommendation of the International Confederation for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry (ICTAC). The TGA yielded thermograms that showed an off-set from typical behavior of commercial grade resin which was attributed to contact of material with soil and thermal/photo-degradation.
The Bacterial Foraging Optimization (BFO) algorithm is inspired by the behavior of bacteria such as Escherichia coli or Myxococcus xanthus when searching for food, more precisely the chemotaxis behavior. Bacteria perceive chemical gradients in the environment, such as nutrients, and also other individual bacteria, and move toward or in the opposite direction to those signals. The application example considered as a case study consists in establishing the dependency between the reaction yield of hydrogels based on polyacrylamide and the working conditions such as time, temperature, monomer, initiator, crosslinking agent and inclusion polymer concentrations, as well as type of the polymer added. This process is modeled with a neural network which is included in an optimization procedure based on BFO. An experimental study of BFO parameters is performed. The results show that the algorithm is quite robust and can obtain good results for diverse combinations of parameter values.
The present paper reports the cracking moment estimates of a set of steel-reinforced, Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP)-reinforced and hybrid steel-FRP reinforced concrete beams, calculated from different analytical formulations in the codes, together with the experimental cracking load values. A total of three steel-reinforced, four FRP-reinforced, 12 hybrid FRP-steel over-reinforced and five hybrid FRP-steel under-reinforced concrete beam tests were analyzed within the scope of the study. Glass FRP (GFRP) and Basalt FRP (BFRP) bars were used in the beams as FRP bars. In under-reinforced hybrid beams, rupture of the FRP bars preceded crushing of concrete, while concrete crushing preceded FRP rupture in over-reinforced beams. In both types, steel yielding took place long before the FRP rupture and concrete crushing. The cracking moment mainly depends on two quantities, namely the moment of inertia of the section at the initiation of cracking and the flexural tensile strength of concrete, i.e. the modulus of rupture. In the present study, two different definitions of uncracked moment of inertia, i.e. the gross and the uncracked transformed moments of inertia, were adopted. Two analytical equations for the modulus of rupture (ACI 318M and Eurocode 2) were utilized in the calculations as well as the experimental tensile strength of concrete from prismatic specimen tests. The ACI 318M modulus of rupture expression produced cracking moment estimates closer to the experimental cracking moments of FRP-reinforced and hybrid FRP-steel reinforced concrete beams when used in combination with the uncracked transformed moment of inertia, yet the Eurocode 2 modulus of rupture expression gave more accurate cracking moment estimates in steel-reinforced concrete beams. All of the analytical definitions produced analytical values considerably different from the experimental cracking load values of the solely FRP-reinforced concrete beam specimens.
Concrete Damaged Plasticity Model (CDPM) is capable of modeling the stress-strain behavior of confined concrete. Nevertheless, the accuracy of the model largely depends on its parameters. To date, most research works mainly focus on the identification and modification of the parameters for fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) confined concrete prior to damage. And, it has been established that the FRP-strengthened concrete behaves differently to FRP-repaired concrete. This paper presents a modified plastic damage model within the context of the CDPM in ABAQUS for modelling of a uniformly FRP-confined repaired concrete under monotonic loading. The proposed model includes infliction damage, elastic stiffness, yield criterion and strain hardening rule. The distinct feature of damaged concrete is elastic stiffness reduction; this is included in the model. Meanwhile, the test results were obtained from a physical testing of repaired concrete. The dilation model is expressed as a function of the lateral stiffness of the FRP-jacket. The finite element predictions are shown to be in close agreement with the obtained test results of the repaired concrete. It was observed from the study that with necessary modifications, finite element method is capable of modeling FRP-repaired concrete structures.
This paper provides a comprehensive study pertaining to diagnosis of intermittent high vibrations on an industrial gas turbine using detailed vibrations analysis, followed by its rectification. Engro Polymer & Chemicals Limited, a Chlor-Vinyl complex located in Pakistan has a captive combined cycle power plant having two 28 MW gas turbines (make Hitachi) & one 15 MW steam turbine. In 2018, the organization faced an issue of high vibrations on one of the gas turbines. These high vibration peaks appeared intermittently on both compressor’s drive end (DE) & turbine’s non-drive end (NDE) bearing. The amplitude of high vibration peaks was between 150-170% on the DE bearing & 200-300% on the NDE bearing from baseline values. In one of these episodes, the gas turbine got tripped on “High Vibrations Trip” logic actuated at 155µm. Limited instrumentation is available on the machine, which is monitored with GE Bently Nevada 3300 system having two proximity probes installed at Turbine NDE, Compressor DE &at Generator DE & NDE bearings. Machine’s transient ramp-up & steady state data was collected using ADRE SXP & DSPI 408. Since only 01 key phasor is installed at Turbine high speed shaft, a derived drive key phasor was configured in ADRE to obtain low speed shaft rpm required for data analysis. By analyzing the Bode plots, Shaft center line plot, Polar plot & orbit plots; rubbing was evident on Turbine’s NDE along with increased bearing clearance of Turbine’s NDE radial bearing. The subject bearing was then inspected & heavy deposition of carbonized coke was found on the labyrinth seals of bearing housing with clear rubbing marks on shaft & housing covering at 20-25 degrees on the inner radius of labyrinth seals. The collected coke sample was tested in laboratory & found to be the residue of lube oil in the bearing housing. After detailed inspection & cleaning of shaft journal area & bearing housing, new radial bearing was installed. Before assembling the bearing housing, cleaning of bearing cooling & sealing air lines was also carried out as inadequate flow of cooling & sealing air can accelerate coke formation in bearing housing. The machine was then taken back online & data was collected again using ADRE SXP & DSPI 408 for health analysis. The vibrations were found in acceptable zone as per ISO standard 7919-3 while all other parameters were also within vendor defined range. As a learning from subject case, revised operating & maintenance regime has also been proposed to enhance machine’s reliability.
A major problem that affects the quality control of polymer in the industrial polymerization is the lack of suitable on-line measurement tools to evaluate the properties of the polymer such as melt and density indices. Controlling the polymerization in ordinary method is performed manually by taking samples, measuring the quality of polymer in the lab and registry of results. This method is highly time consuming and leads to producing large number of incompatible products. An online application for estimating melt index and density proposed in this study is a neural network based on the input-output data of the polyethylene production plant. Temperature, the level of reactors' bed, the intensity of ethylene mass flow, hydrogen and butene-1, the molar concentration of ethylene, hydrogen and butene-1 are used for the process to establish the neural model. The neural network is taught based on the actual operational data and back-propagation and Levenberg-Marquart techniques. The simulated results indicate that the neural network process model established with three layers (one hidden layer) for forecasting the density and the four layers for the melt index is able to successfully predict those quality properties.
Many of thermosetting resins have application only in filled state, reinforced with different mineral fillers. The co-filling of polymers with mineral filler and gases creates a possibility for production of polymer composites materials with low density. This processing leads to forming of new materials – gas-filled plastics (polymer foams). The properties of these materials are determined mainly by the shape and size of internal structural elements (pores). The interactions on the phase boundaries have influence on the materials properties too. In the present work, the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins were reinforced by waste phosphogypsum. The waste phosphogypsum (CaSO4.2H2O) is a solid by-product in wet phosphoric acid production processes. The values of the interactions polymer-filler were increased by using two modifying agents: polyvinyl acetate for polymer matrix and sodium metasilicate for filler. Technological methods for gas-filling and recipes of urea-formaldehyde based materials with apparent density 20-120 kg/m3 were developed. The heat conductivity of the samples is between 0.024 and 0.029 W/moK. Tensile analyses were carried out at 10 and 50% deformation and show values 0.01-0.14 MPa and 0.01-0.09 MPa, respectively. The apparent density of obtained materials is between 20 and 92 kg/m3. The changes in the tensile properties and density of these materials according to sodium metasilicate content were studied too. The mechanism of phosphogypsum adsorption modification was studied using methods of FT-IR spectroscopy. The structure of the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins was described by results of electron scanning microscopy at three different magnification ratios – x50, x150 and x 500. The aim of present work is to study the possibility of the usage of phosphogypsum as mineral filler for urea-formaldehyde resins and development of a technology for the production of gas-filled reinforced polymer composite materials. The structure and the properties of obtained composite materials are suitable for thermal and sound insulation applications.