Polyurethane Foam


Foam Glossary

Airflow test
Measures the ease with which air passes through foam. Pneumatic foam with low airflow will have poor durability and high compression sets, regardless of density.
American Society For Testing and Materials (ASTM)
One of the largest voluntary standards development and testing procedures organizations in the world. Known for their high technical quality and market relevancy that has made products and services safer, better and more cost-effective.
Auxiliary Blowing Agent (ABA)
An alternative additive that replaces water as the primary blowing agent and is used in the production of foam for softer or lighter density. ABAs function by absorbing heat from the reaction (they are classified as exothermic reactions as heat is being released during the reaction). The ABA then vaporizes, providing additional gas that is useful in expanding the foam to a lower density.
A stiff surface that produces an uncomfortable feeling. The boardy feeling is found in some foams with high 25% IFD values and low compression modulus.
Bonded foam
Created by gluing shredded flexible polyurethane foam together. Commonly used as carpet cushioning. 100% recycled material and 100% recyclable.
Bottom out
The loss of support due to a bending or a collapse of the cell framework when under a full weight load. Associated with super soft foams (low 25% IFD values).
Channel ventilation
A design function whereby channels are created across the product to increase airflow.
Comfort nodule
Slightly raised comfort nodules (similar to an upside-down cupcake pan) provide unique comfort by moving with the sleeper for ultimate support. The valleys created by the nodules also help enhance airflow.
Compression set
Measure of the deformation (loss of initial height) of foam after it has been held compressed under controlled temperature conditions for a set time. To determine compression set, a sample of foam is compressed to 90% of its thickness and held in that fixed position at an elevated temperature for 22 hours. Compression set is commonly expressed as a percent of the foam’s original height.
A foam fabrication process involving the use of special cutting equipment to produce a foam pad with peaks and valleys. Convolution is most commonly associated with the “eggcrate” style, but state-of-the-art technologies have made vast improvements in the types of designs that can be produced to benefit support and/or airflow.
A unit of measurement for the fineness or density of natural and man-made fibers. Low numbers represent finer sizes and higher numbers represent heavier.
The weight per unit of volume. Foam is normally expressed in pounds per cubic foot (or kilograms per cubic meter). Density is not a measure of firmness; however, higher density foam generally gives better quality and performance.
The “dish” effect is an undesirable characteristic that can occur when weight is placed in the center and the coroners rise and bow inward in response to deep compression.
The measure of how well foam retains its comfort, support and shape even with frequent use.
A measure of the degree to which foam can be stretched before it breaks. Elongation is measured at the same time tensile strength is determined.
Embrace latex foam
A unique product that merges Talalay latex with memory foam, combining the durability and breathability of latex with the pressure reducing properties of memory foam. Ventilation qualities found in latex means that heat and moisture dissipate quickly, providing the best possible sleeping conditions year-round.
A measure of the load bearing capacity that describes a softening or loss of firmness. There are two types of fatigue tests: static fatigue and dynamic fatigue. These tests can determine how well a product will hold up over time.
Filled foam
Filler added to foam to increase density. The addition of these fillers can reduce the “dish” effect and increase support factor. Foams with low polymer content or a high percentage of filler material tend to have less resiliency, strength and durability.
Fingernail test
A test conducted by pressing a fingernail into foam. If it does not recover quickly, the foam core has been improperly produced and will have a boardy surface feel.
Flexible polyurethane foam (FPF)
Polyurethane foam used in furniture such as beds, couches and chairs, because it has the ability to mold to the shape of the body, providing comfort and support.
Foam modulus
The stiffness or Young’s Modulus of a foam structure. When a load is applied to a foam structure, the foam will initially yield elastically. The slope of this initial stress/strain curve is defined by the stiffness of the foam.
FreshGuard™ Treatment
Acts as a stain release by repelling water and oil- based spills. Because FreshGuard is built right into the fabric, it stands up to repeated washing.
The feel of foam as your hand moves gently over the surface. Foam with a stiff feel has a poor hand and foam that has a velvet feel is described as having a good hand.
High resilience (HR) foam
Premium polyurethane foam that has been formulated with higher-molecular weight polyols. As a result, foams have a high support factor, which describes the relationship of the surface comfort to deep-down support. HR foam is primarily sold at high density levels and is a very high quality material. The term high resilience was coined based on the improved resilience of these foams when compared to that of conventional foams.
Hole-punch technology
Mechanically induced hole-punch technology creates small holes that are punched entirely through the foam to improve ventilation and airflow and to aid in sleep surface temperature regulation.
Hypersoft™ Foam
Foam that is very soft yet retains support to enhance comfort. Milled Hypersoft has a down-like softness and a luxurious soft touch.
Antimicrobial fabric that reduces moisture with superior wicking and drying performance.
The hysteresis value correlates to the durability or the ability of a foam sample to retain hardness during repeated use. The firmness (IFD) is tested at 25% indentation, 65% indentation and again at 25% on the way up. Hysteresis is the percent lost between the first 25% IFD measurement and the second normal 25% IFD position after measuring 65% compression. Lower hysteresis values, or less IFD losses, are desirable. Current research indicates that hysteresis values may provide a good indication of overall flexible foam durability.
Indentation force deflection (IFD)
A measure of load bearing capacity or firmness. For example, the 25% IFD is determined by measuring the number of pounds it takes to compress the foam by 25% of its original thickness. The 65% IFD reading is obtained in the same way at deeper compression (65% of the sample thickness). The higher the 25% IFD, the firmer the surface feels. Foams with high 65% IFD values resist bottoming-out and provide more support. Note: previously called indentation load deflection (ILD).
A fabrication process that bonds one foam variety to another using durable adhesives. Lamination can be used to combine foams with differing physical properties to obtain desired combinations of comfort and support.
A natural foam rubber product that comes from the tropical hevea brasiliensis tree and is not related to polyurethane foam.
Latex foam
Typically made by combining natural latex with petrochemicals to create the final product.
Memory foam or visco-elastic foam
Memory foam is visco-elastic material, which responds to body weight and temperature by conforming to the contours of the body, providing personalized comfort and consistent pressure-relieving support.
Milled or shredded foam
Flexible polyurethane foam that has been mechanically shredded into small pieces or flakes for the purpose of creating a loose filling material.
Molded foam
Foam chemicals are poured into a mold to produce a cellular foam product that holds the shape of the mold cavity in which is was produced. The effect provides the foam with unique surface contours. Molded foam can help visually enhance a product line without affecting the performance.
Omalon®/ DuraLife™ Foam
Has 13 patents and is guaranteed to never go flat and always remain comfortable and supportive. The foam’s elliptical shaped cell structure provides durability by resisting buckling, resulting in continuous support. Omalon feels great with the first use and needs no break-in period.
Premium urethane
Resilient urethane that reduces pressure on sensitive areas of the body. Offers a cool, dry and comfortable surface for restful sleep. Improves comfort by distributing body weight evenly from head to toe.
Qualatex™/ Avena™ Foam
Softer foam with a higher density. Provides superior sleeping comfort and resilient support with a breathable surface to improve airflow. Considered to be the best "high resiliency" foam mattress topper available. Guaranteed not to sleep hot and to never go flat.
The measurement of the return produced by foam to its original dimension and properties after a deforming force has been placed on the foam and then removed.
Renew™ Foam
Designed with our natural foam technology, Renew is a soy-enhanced foam that is Earth-friendly and made from renewable resources.
An indicator of the elasticity of foam. It is measured by The Ball Rebound Test by dropping a steel ball onto foam from a fixed height and measuring what percentage the ball rebounds from the original height of the ball drop. Foam has an average resiliency from 40% to 75%.
Rigid foam
Made up of hundreds of millions of closely packed air cells. Rigid foam has excellent thermal performance and is extremely moisture resistant.
Light reflected from intact cell walls, noticeable on the cut surfaces of flexible polyurethane foam. A large number of shiners, or shiny spots, indicates foam with many closed cells and, therefore, a poor airflow value.
Slab stock production
Liquid raw materials and other additives are mixed continuously with an in-line mixer and then poured onto a moving conveyor. The liquids froth and expand to form a continuous slab of foam that is chopped into sections.
Support factor (compression modulus)
A mathematical equation where the ratio 65% IFD is divided by 25% IFD. The higher the number, the greater the difference between the surface firmness and the deep-down support. Support factor is the best means of measuring comfort for comparison purposes. Higher support factors allow desirable surface softness and firm inner support.
Surface firmness
The measurement of weight necessary to indent a foam sample by 25% of its original height. Also known as 25% IFD.
Synthetic latex
Shares the same properties of natural latex when it comes to full support, durability, pressure relief, and quality. Chemicals added during the manufacturing process allow for better foam consistency and give control over the feel and the density while extending the life of the product. Synthetic latex is extremely comfortable, hypoallergenic, and breathable to help regulate temperature.
Talalay Process
A process used when frothing latex. In a temperature-controlled, stainless steel tank, natural and man-made latexes, soaps and rubber curing agents are precisely mixed and quality checked for Ph, viscosity and temperature. The compound mix is transferred to the pressroom where it is whipped into a frothy liquid form and injected into an aluminum pin core mold. The pins create a unique aerated cell structure. The mold is sealed and a vacuum is pulled to extract air and completely fill the mold cavity with latex. Unique to the Talalay process, the latex is then chilled at -20° Fahrenheit. Freezing prevents particles from settling and ensures a consistent cell structure. CO2 is introduced to gel the latex, and the mold is heated to 220º Fahrenheit to cure the core as it is baked into its final state.
Tensile strength
A test that measures the pounds per square inch (PSI) of strength required to stretch a material to its breaking point.
Upholstery and mattress covering made of strong, durable cotton or linen fabric.
Toluene diisocyanate (TDI)
TDI is a raw material that reacts with polyols and water to form polyurethane foam. This is a prime ingredient in the synthesis of many visco-elastic memory foam formulations.
The resultant of the chemical reaction between an isocyanate and an organic hydroxyl. Polyurethane foam is a cellular product produced from the reaction of active hydrogen-containing compounds with blowing agents and polyisocyanates.
Water blown foam
Flexible polyurethane foam that uses carbon dioxide gas generated by the reaction between water and an isocyanate material to expand the raw materials into a foam. While all flexible polyurethane foam is water blown, auxiliary blowing agents are frequently used to acquire special physical properties.
Zoned support
Specific zones are created during the convolution process on mattress pads and pillows using various levels of support, or different materials, or a combination of designs to help ergonomically comfort the sleeper. Each independent zone is designed to provide specialized comfort to a specific section of the body.