Foam profiles have been successfully extruded by a major producer of packaging foams from 100% LLDPE, which typically doesn't have the melt strength required to support cellular structures. Fine-celled foams in 1- to 1.5-pcf densities were extruded from Raprex R-300, an LLDPE modified with electron-beam irradiation to give it long-chain branching. Sterigenics International Inc. in San Diego developed the patent-pending E-beam pretreatment, which is applied to a specific conventional LLDPE. Sterigenics offers three commercial Raprex grades, including highly branched R-300, which boasts nearly double the tensile strength and puncture resistance of conventional LLDPE. Foaming was done with a hydrocarbon blowing agent on a conventional tandem extrusion line. Target markets include soft cushioning foams for packaging.
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