Cross-linked polyurethane (PU) is extensively used as thermoset foam; however, methods to directly reprocess PU foam waste derived from commercial sources into similar value materials have not been developed. We demonstrate that introducing dibutyltin dilaurate (DBTDL) into cross-linked PU foams and films enables their reprocessing at elevated temperatures via dynamic carbamate exchange reactions. Both model and commercial cross-linked PU foams were continuously reprocessed using twin-screw extrusion to remove gaseous filler and produce PU filaments or films with elastomeric or rigid thermoset mechanical properties. The properties of microcompounded model PU foam were in excellent agreement with PU film synthesized using the same monomers, indicating that this process occurs efficiently. These findings will enable the bulk reprocessing of commercial thermoset PU waste and inspire the further development of reprocessing methods for other thermosets and the compatibilization of chemically distinct cross-linked materials.
Source: Daylan T. Sheppard, Kailong Jin, Leslie S. Hamachi, William Dean, David J. Fortman, Christopher J. Ellison and William R. Dichtel.  Reprocessing Postconsumer Polyurethane Foam Using Carbamate Exchange Catalysis and Twin-Screw Extrusion. ACS Central Science Vol. 6 No.6 Year 2020 pp. 921−927.