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Home / Publications / Journals / Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 45 / Number 2

Optimization of HIPE Foams

W. P. Steckle, Jr., M. E. Smith, R. J. Sebring, A. Nobile, Jr.

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 45 / Number 2 / March 2004 / Pages 74-78

Technical Paper / Target Fabrication /

High Internal Phase Emulsion (HIPE) polystyrene foams have been made at LANL for the past decade. It is a robust system that offers flexibility in tailoring density and the incorporation of halogens and metals. As target designs become more complex the demands placed on the foams are more stringent. Parts are machined from 30 mg/cm3 foams to thicknesses of 50 m. At three percent of full density these foams are to withstand extraction with ethanol to remove the wax utilized as a machining aid and not allow shrinkage or warpage. In order to accomplish this the formulation of the HIPE foam had to be modified. Recently some new processing issues have arisen. At low densities voids have become a problem. To determine a formulation that reduces void content and allows minimum shrinkage, experimental design was utilized. We also developed image analysis techniques that allow us to quantify the amount of voids in the system. These techniques also allow us to evaluate the surface finish of the foam. In order to machine these low density foams to the tolerance required with an optimum surface finish the foams are backfilled with Brij 78, an alcohol soluble wax. After the part is machined, the Brij is leached out. Recent batches of Brij have exhibited high shrinkage, which in turn affects the surface finish of the foam.

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