Polymers (Basel). 2022 Dec 13;14(24):5450. doi: 10.3390/polym14245450.
Polyurethane (PU) is an indispensable part of people’s lives. With the development of polyurethane, the disposal of polyurethane waste has become a significant issue around the world. Conventional degradation catalysts have poor dispersion and low degradation efficiency when used in the process of solid degradation into liquid. Therefore, this paper innovatively adopts self-made core-shell nanoscale titanium catalysis, traditional alkali metal catalyst (KOH), and polyol to carry out the glycolysis of waste polyurethane (PU) pipeline foam. The homogenized nanoscale titanium catalyst coated with alcohol gel has an obvious core-shell structure. The alcohol gel not only protects the catalyst but also dissolves with the alcoholysis agent in the process of glycolysis and disperses more evenly into the alcoholysis agent to avoid the phenomenon of nanocatalyst agglomeration, so as to facilitate catalytic cracking without reducing catalyst activity. In this study, investigated and compared the production of renewable polyurethane foam via a one-step method based on use of a homogeneous core-shell nanostructured titanium catalyst vs. a traditional alkaline catalyst in terms of the properties of regenerated polyether polyols as well as of the foams produced from these polyols. The physicochemical properties of regenerated polyether polyols that were analyzed included viscosity, hydroxyl value, and average molecular weight. The regenerated polyurethane foams were characterized based on water absorption, TG, SEM, and thermal conductivity analyses. The results show that, when the addition of homogeneous titanium catalyst was T2 0.050 wt.%, the viscosity of regenerated polyether polyols was the lowest, at 5356.7 mPa·s, which was reduced by 9.97% compared with those obtained using the alkali metal catalyst (KOH). When the amount of titanium catalyst was T3 0.075 wt.%, the hard foam made of regenerated polyurethane prepared by the catalyst showed the best properties, with a compressive strength of 0.168 MPa, which is 4.76% higher than that of the foam prepared using KOH catalyst.