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US4548861: Foam rigidizing process and products produced therewith

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Filing Information

Inventor(s) John M. Barnes · Robert G. Haley · Trepus, Jr.; George E. ·
Assignee(s) The Boeing Company ·
Attorney/Agent(s) Hughes, Barnard & Cassidy ·
Primary Examiner Herbert S. Cockeram ·
Application Number US6537728
Filing date 09/29/1983
Issue date 10/22/1985
Predicted expiration date 09/29/2003
U.S. Classifications 428/322.7  · 264/453  ·
International Classifications C08G 1814  ·
Kind CodeA
International Classifications 52155;54 ·
22 Claims, No Drawings


Abstract

A composite, rigid, structural, foam panel (11) comprising: (i) a flexible, non-structural, open cell reticulated or semi-reticulated, foam sheet (10); and (ii), an essentially closed cell resinous foam formed from a flowable, foamable material (12); and, wherein the open cell non-structural foam sheet (10) and the essentially closed cell foam are each coextensive with the volume of spaced defined by the panel (11). In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the flexible, non-structural, open cell reticulated or semi-reticulated foam sheet (10) comprises an electromagnetic wave absorber and, consequently, the essentially closed cell rigid structural panel (11) produced comprises a rigid, structural electromagnetic wave absorber. The rigid panels and/or absorbers (11) of the present invention are preferably formed of urethane-like materials and in a process embodying the invention wherein: a flowable, foamable, resinous material (12) composed of Components "A" and "B" and a suitable cream are proportioned to form a panel (11) of the desired shape; the Components are thoroughly stirred, and introduced into the bottom of a preheated, vented mold (15) having suitable vents (19); the open cell flexible foam sheet (10), precut to the desired size, is inserted into the mold (15) on top of the flowable, foamable, resinous material (12); the lid (18) of the mold (15) is closed and clamped in place; and, the reactive Components "A" and "B" are allowed to foam and expand in an exothermic reaction, whereby the expanding material (12) is forced into, entirely through, and entirely throughout the open cell foam sheet (10) with excess material (12) escaping from the mold (15) through the vents (19). After curing at room temperature for at least two hours, the panel (11) is demolded and trimmed as required.

Independent Claims | See all claims (22)

  1. 1. The method of rigidizing a non-structural, flexible, open cell foam sheet comprising the steps of:(a) forming a flowable foamable resinous material characterized by its ability to produce a rigid structural element when foamed and cured;(b) placing the flowable foamable resinous material in a heated vented mold defining a given predetermined volume of space;(c) positioning a non-structural, flexible, open cell foam sheet within the heated vented mold in face-to-face relation with the flowable foamable resinous material and wherein the non-structural, flexible, open cell foam sheet is in the non-compressed state and essentially fills the given predetermined volume of space within the mold;(d) closing the heated vented mold and permitting the flowable foamable resinous material to expand and form in an exothermic reaction whereby the heat and pressure generated cause the flowable foamable resinous material to expand into and uniformly through and throughout the non-structural, flexible, open cell, non-compressed foam sheet without compressing and/or damaging the cellular walls of the open cell non-compressed foam sheet and with excess foamed resinous material escaping from the vented mold through the vents therein; and,(e) curing the uniformly impregnated open cell foam sheet and the expanded foamed resinous material impregnated therein to form a composite structural panel comprising: (i) a non-structural, flexible, open cell foam sheet having the same dimensions as when initially positioned within the mold in step (c); and (ii), a rigid essentially closed cell structural foam uniformly dispersed throughout the interstices of the non-structural, flexible, open cell, non-compressed foam sheet.
  2. 2. The method of rigidizing a non-structural, flexible, open cell foam sheet comprising the steps of:(a) forming a flowable foamable resinous material characterized by its ability to produce a rigid structural element when foamed and cured;(b) placing the flowable foamable resinous material in a vented mold defining a given predetermined volume of space;(c) positioning a non-structural, flexible, open cell foam sheet within the vented mold in face-to-face relation with the flowable foamable resinous material and wherein the non-structural, flexible, open cell foam sheet is in the non-compressed state and essentially fills the given predetermined volume of space within the mold;(d) closing the vented mold;(e) heating the closed vented mold and the flowable foamable resinous material therein to cause the flowable foamable resinous material to expand and foam in an exothermic reaction whereby the heat and pressure generated cause the flowable foamable resinous material to expand into and uniformly through and throughout the non-structural, flexible, open cell, non-compressed foam sheet without compressing and/or damaging the cellular walls of the open cell non-compressed foam sheet and with excess foamed resinous material escaping from the heated vented mold through the vents therein; and,(f) curing the uniformly impregnated open cell foam sheet and the expanded foamed resinous material impregnated therein to form a composite structure panel comprising: (i) a non-structural, flexible, open cell foam sheet having the same dimensions as when initially positioned within the mold in step (c); and (ii), a rigid essentially closed cell structure foam uniformly dispersed throughout the interstices of the non-structural, flexible, open cell, non-compressed foam sheet.
  3. 13. A lightweight, rigid, structural panel comprising, in combination, a non-structural, flexible, open cell, non-compressed foam sheet which occupies a given predetermined volume of space and an essentially closed cell structural foam uniformly distributed throughout the interstices of said open cell non-structural, flexible, non-compressed foam sheet so as to form a structural panel occupying essentially the same given predetermined volume of space as said non-structural, flexible, open cell, non-compressed foam sheet.
  4. 18. A lightweight, rigid, electromagnetic wave absorber comprising, in combination:(a) a non-structural, flexible, open cell foam sheet which occupies a given predetermined volume of space and which is in the non-compressed state, said open cell foam sheet having a multiplicity of dielectric and/or magnetic particles dispersed throughout the open cell structure of said foam sheet which forms a matrix-like support therefore; and,(b) an essentially closed cell structural foam uniformly distributed throughout the interstices of said non-structural, flexible, open cell, non-compressed foam sheet so as to form a lightweight, rigid, electromagnetic wave absorber occupying essentially the same given predetermined volume of space as said non-structural, flexible, open cell, non-compressed foam sheet.

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