Polyurethane - Flexible Foam
What are Flexible Polyurethane Foams, and how are they made?
Polyurethane foams are flexible, open cell foams that 'breathe'. Their elasticity and thermal stability make them particularly suitable for furniture cushions and mattresses. (A range of rigid polurethane foams also exists as used in fibreglassing - and which we do not supply.)
Flexible foam results from the reaction of various chemicals. The materials produced are generally light-weight and resilient. Flexible foams are made by expanding these chemicals into large blocks, called 'buns', rather like a very large loaf of bread. A specified 'recipe' of chemicals, when mixed, will expand to a predetermined bun size. Foam qualities such as resilience, density and hardness are a function of the type and amount of chemical used in the 'recipe' for the bun produced.
What are some common uses of polyurethane foams?
Polyurethane foams have the widest range of uses of any foam on the market. Some of the most common products are:
Mattresses, Cushions, Bed Overlays, Wedges and Cylinders, Pet Beds, Caravan Seats and Mattresses, Boat Seats and Mattresses, Packaging, Gym Equipment, Camping and Exercise Mats, Child Care Shapes, Crumb Foam Cushion Inserts and Sound Proofing.
So, what makes a good foam?
There are three performance tests applied when evaluating the suitability and comfort of foam for its application.
These tests are for resilience, density and hardness.
1. Resilience is a measure of how supportive, bouncy and long lasting a cushion will be. There are ranges of foams rated as high resilient (HR). These foams are made of superior quality chemicals that produce the best products. Our Superior Grade foams are of HR rating.
2. Density of foam is a measure of its weight. In general the higher the density of a foam the better its quality. Each cushion or mattress will then contain more ingredient and therefore more capacity to do the job required of it.
3. Hardness rating of foam is a measure of how much force is required to deflect a given piece of foam to 75% of its thickness. The foam hardness required for a given situation depends upon factors such as foam thickness, below cushion support, and personal preference.
And what about foam colours?
Most foams are light or white in colour, although many of our superior grade foams are now available in a range of bright colours. Different colours are an easy and convenient way for people to readily recognise which foam grade they are dealing with. Each manufacturer has a suite of colours, specific to a particular grade of foam. If you wish therefore to choose your foam grade, you must accept it in the colour in which that grade is made!
All foam will also discolour over time, and this process is accelerated with exposure to natural light. Cushions will gradually take on a yellowish beige colour. This fading does not affect the performance of the foam.
To read the Material Safety Data Sheet on this product click here.