Urethane foam is the most common type of foam and is resilient, low density, closed cell, and available in many different flexibilities and firmnesses. It biodegrades when exposed to UV light and can be flexible, rigid, semi-flexible, highly resilient, and anti-static.
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Applications of Urethane Foam
Urethane foam is a versatile and widely used type of foam material. Commonly used to refer to a material made from polyurethane, urethane foam can be both rigid and flexible. It is utilized in a broad range of industries such as construction, furniture, automotive, and medical. Hospital equipment, such as surgical scrubbers or x-ray positioning pads, sound and thermal insulation, packaging materials, and interior padding for automobiles are examples of common uses for urethane foam. However, bedding and mattress padding is the best known use of urethane foam. As foam is an artificially manufactured material, it can be formed to specific densities and flexibilities, which are particularly useful for mattress and bedding manufacturers, who can then market different comfort levels of mattress to their customers.
Flexible urethane foam is a popular alternative to steel springs and polyester fiber for foam padding. It is quieter, does not require further padding, and recovers quickly from compression. Other common uses include insulation in attic roofing, walls, and other parts of construction. Urethane foam can be manufactured in a spray form, which is commonly used in place of other insulation materials as it expands to fit precisely into an area. Using spray insulation removes the possibility for gaps and ensures that the barrier is effective. Urethane foam is an ideal insulation material, as the open cells of the foam hold air, which has low thermal conductivity, preventing unnecessary loss of interior temperature or air condition.
Urethane Foam Design and Customization
As with other foam materials, urethane foam is extremely versatile in its range of uses and can be adjusted in terms of thickness, density, cell form, size, and shape. Foams are most often described as either open cell foam or closed cell foam according to the layout of the individual material cells. Open cell foam cells are interconnected and produce a highly absorbent and soft material. Closed cell foam tends to be more resistant to pressure and absorption but provides a rigid structural support. Foam is typically stored and transported in stock sizes of blocks, rolls, or buns, which are then cut and fabricated into final products. Through the process of foam cutting using hot wire, laser, water jet, or CNC machines, bulk blocks of foam can be cut into precise and uniform shapes. These shapes can also be joined together with adhesives to create a final product. For more complex shapes, urethane foam can be molded to produce furniture upholstery and seat cushioning.