Tosoh Corporation is a global chemical and specialty materials company. The Tosoh Group globally comprises more than 100 companies and includes manufacturing and marketing facilities in East Asia, Europe and the United States. Tosoh has focused efforts on developing amine derivatives widely used as catalysts in the polyurethane foam (PUF) industry. Recently, a new reactive amine catalyst named RZETA® has been developed by Tosoh making possible PUFs with reduced VOCs emission while having good physical properties.
Activity: Production of amine derivatives used as catalysts in the polyurethane foam (PUF) industry
Context: Control of VOCs emissions of new reactive amine catalyst
Equipment: HERACLES Electronic Nose with AlphaSoft & AroChemBase
An e-nose to control VOCs emissions reduction in polyurethane foams
A need for an objective method to measure VOCs emissions reduction
The automobile and furniture industries are sensitive to VOCs due to industrial standards and to requirements from customers.
It is quite meaningful to reduce VOCs from PUF whose main application is for those industries. Normally, it is not possible to carry out direct measurement of VOCs using gas chromatography and therefore it is difficult for us to tell the VOC difference between PUF using RZETA and those using other amine derivatives.
In the past, the smell evaluation of RZETA was conducted by panel evaluations that were easily influenced by such unavoidable factors, as panel member’s subjective feelings and experimental error from researcher handling. It was therefore difficult to quantitatively evaluate the smell of RZETA with different lot numbers.
We were trying to find the ideal tool that could allow us to obtain information on VOC markers from PUF such as aldehyde derivatives and to evaluate the smell of RZETA objectively.
Conclusive proof thanks to HERACLES E-Nose
By introducing the HERACLES Electronic Nose, we succeeded in identifying several VOCs such as propionaldehyde and triethylenediamine. It was found that PUF made from RZETA had less aldehyde and no amine emission. So we could explain the reason why the smell of PUF made using RZETA is less noxious than the ones using other amines because of less VOC presence.
We were also pleased to find that a PLS prediction model could be very helpful in the smell quality management of RZETA. In this way, it is much easier to judge whether or not the RZETA product with a specific lot number is qualified regarding smell.
"Apart from propionaldehyde and triethylenediamine, many chemicals of PUF VOCs remain unknown. We are considering the possibility of introducing MS equipment to HERACLES Electronic Nose that could enable us to identify these unknown components more precisely by combining with the powerful library of HERACLES Electronic Nose”, comment Jianfei Xue and Hiroshi Fujiwara, from Tosoh Corporation Organic Materials Research Laboratory.
“By introducing the HERACLES Electronic Nose, we succeeded in identifying several VOCs [...] So we could explain the reason why the smell of PUF made using RZETA is less noxious than the ones using other amines because of less VOC presence.”