Introduction to PVC foam
PVC foam is a very popular and versatile foam core material used in composite structure manufacturing. Fibermax Composites PVC foam is used in many aspects of daily life, from construction to medical devices, in boat building, public transportation and many more, due to its excellent mechanical and physical properties.
Fibermax Composites PVC foam is made from a polymer, polyvinyl chloride, through polymerisation. The mix of polymer and air bubbles forms a consistent material, with increased volume many times over, while the weight remains low. Polyvinyl chloride contains chlorine (approximately 57% by weight,) carbon and hydrogen. Chlorine makes it compatible with many other materials, and also provides some fire retardancy. The chlorine atoms are bonded to every carbon chain, making PVC resistant to oxidation by atmospheric oxygen.
PVC foam is manufactured by mixing the polymer under certain conditions. Then the mixture is poured in a mold that is cured under heat and pressure. The resulting mass is de-molded, heated again with hot water and finally cured. The result is a block of foam containing closed cells that can be cut to different thickness sheets.
Fibermax Composites PVC products consist of 50% to 95% air, resulting in a density of 55-200 kg/m2, and thereby can contribute to save valuable weight and raw material. It may be used with most types of resin like epoxy, vinylester and others and all types of fiber reinforcement like carbon, aramid, Kevlar, fiberglass, etc. Methods of fabrication include wet layup, vacuum bagging, vacuum infusion, RTM, RTM light, press molding, and autoclave.
Fibermax Composites cross linked PVC has high physical properties, and exhibits good heat and solvent resistance. Its' water absorption ranges from 0.07 to 0.03kg/mm2, the tensile modulus from 45 to 180N/mm2, and tensile strength from 1.30 to 6.20N/mm2 depending foam's density (higher values for higher density PVC foam.) Concerning shear strength, values start from 0.8N/mm2 till 3.5N/mm2.