Mouldable Particle Foams technology is based on the principle of manufacturing beads (particles) of thermoplastics which incorporates a blowing agent. These beads are heat treated and ultimately combined with other beads in a mould to form a foamed, finished product. Polystyrene is a common material utilised in this way (called EPS - expandable Polystyrene); almost all of us will have seen the intricately shaped white packaging blocks that protect new goods, an insulating polystyrene cup or the little white EPS balls that fill bean bags. There are other materials that can be used in a similar way, including polyethylene and polypropylene. However, the recent trend towards use of polymers made from renewable materials has led to this technique being applied to polymers like PLA and cellulose-based polymers. Despite being a well-established technique, environmental concerns regarding the type of polymer, blowing agents and other additives are driving research and new developments in this area.
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