Water as foaming agent for open cell polyurethane structures

H. Haugen, V. Ried, M. Brunner, J. Will, E. Wintermantel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The problem of moisture in polymer processing is known to any polymer engineer, as air bubbles may be formed. Hence granulates are generally dried prior to manufacturing. This study tried to develop a novel processing methods for scaffolds with controlled moisture content in thermoplastic polyurethane. The common foaming agents for polyurethane are organic solvents, whose residues remaining in the scaffold may be harmful to adherent cells, protein growth factors or nearby tissues. Water was used as a foaming agent and NaCl was used as porogens to achieve an open-cell structure. The polyether-polyurethane samples were processed in a heated press, and achieved a porosity of 64%. The pore size ranged between 50 and 500 μm. Human fibroblasts adhered and proliferate in the scaffold. A non-toxic production process was developed to manufacture a porous structure with a thermoplastic polyether-polyurethane. The process enables a mass-production of samples with adjustable pore size and porosity. In contrast to an existing method (solvent casting), the processing of the samples was not limited by its thickness. The process parameters, which attribute mostly to the pore building, were filling volume, temperature, NaCl-concentration and water-uptake rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-346
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


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