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Polym Int 48 :69 (1999)
Polymer International
Book reviews
Polymeric foams, science and technology
ACS symposium series, no. 669
Edited by KC Khemani
American Chemical Society, Was hington DC, 1997
pp. viii ] 239, price US$99.95.
ISBN 0-8412-3516-3
In a recent undergraduate examination, several of the
answers contained references to polymeric foams as
an ‘expanding area of polymer technology’. Not
exactly belly-laugh material, but the diversity of
polymeric foam systems described within the üfteen
chapters of this volume does give some credence to
these feeble attempts at humour by my students.
Five of the chapters present developments in reactive cellular systems based on polysiloxanes, polyimides, polyisocyanurates and polyurethanes, notably
a collaboration between Dow Benelux and UMIST
(UK), which combines data from FTIR, synchrotron
SAXS and dynamic rheometry experiments to
present an overall view of structure development
during the formation of a polyurethane foam.
Thermoplastic foams are also heavily represented,
with üve chapters covering the formation of microcellular foams via solid-state and extrusion techniques, blowing of extruded polymers with physical
blowing agents, and the extrusion of polyester foams.
Less mainstream topics are also covered, such as the
production of cellular carbon via pyrolysis of highly
crosslinked foams formed from polyaromatic polymers, and the physical modelling of intumescent
polymers. Two chapters address the complexities of
morphological characterisation of cellular structures,
a particular problem for researchers attempting to
develop structure–property relationships for foamed
polymers : a study of the applicability of confocal
microscopy in reconstructing the three-dimensional
structure of a polyurethane foam from twodimensional depth imaging, and a detailed review of
the use of image analysis in the characterisation of
cell morphology, by Marion Rhodes of the University of Massachusetts.
A volume developed from a research symposium
on a topic as diverse as polymer foams cannot hope
to satisfy a wide readership, but attempts have been
made to make it more accessible. The ürst chapter
provides an introductory overview – a brief outline
of the main materials and their markets – useful to
some readers in conveying the broad scope of foamed
polymers. Most subsequent chapters also contain
fairly detailed reviews of their respective topic before
discussing new developments. Individual chapters
may therefore be useful to readers interested in a
particular polymer, but, overall, the volume will be
more useful to researchers working in the areas of
melt- or reactively-processed foams.
A Wilkinson
Macromolecular symposia 128 : New approaches in
polymer synthesis, edited by AYu Bilibin and SS
Price DM124, US $80.00
ISBN 3-85739-325-4
This volume contains the texts of 21 plenary and
contributed lectures to the IUPAC Symposium New
Approaches in Polymer Synthesis and Macromolecular
Formation, held in St Petersburg, J une 1997. They
cover new approaches in polymerization, catalysis,
molecular architectural control and non-traditional
It is a series of independent articles rather
than a comprehensive reference text, forming a
useful, although specialised, reference to the üeld.
The articles cover a wide range of synthesis
approaches to new macromolecules and macromolecular architectures, including synthesis from
speciality monomers as well as by polymer modiücation. The scientiüc standard is high throughout.
Contributions range through topics of strong current
industrial relevance (such as the opening chapter on
solid state interchain transesteriücation reactions,
new synthesis techniques (the use of the synthon
approach for liquid crystal copolymers ; the synthesis
of rotaxanes) and novel properties (‘intelligent’
networks). Industrial relevance is considered : the
whole ýavour of the book is one of applied science
rather than esoteric study. All authors explain their
subject clearly and in an easily digestible manner for
a reader at ürst year degree level, and all articles are
well referenced and illustrated.
My only criticism (a minor one) concerns not the
content but the presentation of the book. It is attractively hard bound, but the articles have clearly been
supplied in camera ready form (presumably to speed
publication) with inconsistency of appearance in
presentation styles. The odd spelling mistake has
also crept in.
This is a useful reference work for researchers in
the area of new materials. It is a worthy record of a
most interesting meeting : working my way through
the text I was sorry not to have attended personally.
( 1999 Society of Chemical Industry. Polym Int 0959–8103/99/$17.50
CWG Ansell
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