The quality of air inside buildings, cars and other enclosed spaces is becoming important, but current methods give very variable results when emission tests for volatiles are carried out on polyurethane samples. Scientists at The Dow Chemical Company have developed a process that is designed to minimise the variability
By An Adams*, Esther Quintanilla, Stefan van Bloois and Adrian Birch
From the smell of a new car to the odour of a new bed-in-a-box mattress, polyurethane products are responsible for a number of emissions in the home and in automobiles.
The indoor air quality of cars, trucks and buildings is significantly affected by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted from flexible polyurethane used inside these spaces.
However, there is a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to measuring the emissions from polyurethanes, despite many studies that have tried to improve on this uncertainty.
Often, these studies focus on developing and improving the analytical methods used to measure the emission of volatile substances from materials. They frequently neglect the history and pre-treatment of the samples that are being tested.
One of the most widely used tests is the German VDA 278 method, which is regularly specified to measure the level of volatile compounds in samples of polyurethane. Although it is well suited to the evaluation the emission potential of materials, there are often considerable lab-to-lab differences in tests of the…