Foam is a lightweight, versatile, polymer-based material used in a number of different industries and applications. One of its biggest applications is foam padding. Padding made from foam material can be used virtually for any industry or product that requires extra lining for protection or comfort.
Quick links to Foam Padding Information
Applications of Foam Padding
Foam padding is low-density flexible foam used in a wide range of applications such as upholstery, bedding, packaging, and protective sportswear.
Materials Used in Foam Padding
Typical materials used in the fabrication of different types of foam include polyester, polyether, polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, and vinyl. Foam is described as open cell foam or closed cell foam, depending on the arrangement of the material cells. Closed cell foam is made of sealed and unbroken cells or bubbles in a tight configuration, resulting in dense foam that provides a strong surface. Open cell foam is more flexible as the cells of the material are broken or open. It is softer and less dense and is commonly used to make padding for a number of furniture applications, such as barstools, carpets, benches, and camping pads.
Specific types of foam are chosen according to their different properties and the requirements of the application. Polyurethane foam is also referred to as PE. It is rigid foam constructed through an extrusion process. Beds, couches, chairs, and other furniture all use PE as primary structural padding. Polyethylene foam on the other hand is used widely in packing cases to provide support and protection for fragile goods. It is extremely lightweight and durable and has excellent buoyancy. It is also used in a number of flotation devices and nautical equipment.
Benefits of Using Foam Padding
Padding made from foam is lightweight, shatter proof, and wear and tear-resistant. It is easy to fabricate into the required shapes and dimensions for an application and offers a cost-effective padding solution. It can also be used for insulation and to minimize effects of vibrations for rotational transfer molding cores and expansion joint filler in masonry and concrete applications.
Another advantage to using foam padding, especially closed cell foam padding, is that it is impervious to mold, moisture, and bacterial growth and is able to be used in outdoor applications for a long time without breaking down or becoming unsanitary. The resistance of foam to absorbing water is a property that ensures its usefulness in applications such as medical foam or filter foam. Foam materials are easy to fabricate and can come in almost any size, thickness, and shape. They can also be fabricated in a wide variety of colors.
New Uses for Recycled Foam Padding
One of the issues with foam products that has bothered environmentalists for years is the issue of recycling the foam. Like many other plastic products, it can take years to decompose. However, foam is highly recyclable with the right facilities. Recycling foam can be an extra expense for a factory at first, but, in the long run, it will save on the cost of manufacturing new foam products. This prevents the need for continuing to purchase new foam products or manufacture additional foam from petroleum. A factory can save money by reusing foam previously manufactured.
Adding a recycling center to an existing foam factory is not difficult, and a company can even save additional money by charging a processing fee for recycling used foam products. Companies can charge a recycling fee to individuals who wish to drop off their old, unwanted foam products at the recycling center. This will cover the cost of recycling and save the factory even more money.
Recycled foam can be used to make a variety of things, from additional padding to packaging material, to toys and novelty products, and almost anything imaginable. Foam padding can be transformed into other foam products, like carpet padding. Most old foam can be melted down and mixed with a few other ingredients to create foam that is just as strong as the original. Recycled foam is inexpensive as well as being better for the environment.