Since polyol is one of the major components in polyurethane foam synthesis, introducing renewably sourced polyols in the foam formulation leads to materials with high renewable carbon content. A series of flexible polyurethane foams with variations in polyol composition were synthesized with castor oil based Lupranol Balance®50 polyether polyol and corn based polytrimethylene ether glycol mixtures. Water was used as the unique and eco-friendly blowing agent. The effect of the relative amount of each polyol on the structure and properties was analyzed by optical microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, tensile and compressive tests, dynamic mechanical analysis and atomic force microscopy. The average molecular weight and hydroxyl number of the polyol components showed to influence the foaming reaction and hence the structure and properties of the polyurethane foam. The newly developed peak force quantitative nano-mechanics technique was used to map the elastic modulus values of foam cell struts and it seemed to be adequate to assess the purity of the different phases.
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