To many people, foam and rubber are thought of as different materials. As such, reading the name foam rubber could be quite confusing.
Foam rubber can refer to a wide variety of foam types. For example, both polyethylene and polyurethane foams are types of foam rubber.
Although often shortened, the word foam doesn’t refer to a singular product. It refers to the cellular structure. That’s why foam can be found in many different forms.
Take shaving foam and sofa foam for instance. Both are referred to as foam, however, the look and feel of each are quite different.
Look closer though and you’ll see that both consist of a series of gas-filled pockets. As such, we refer to both as a foam.
Foam Rubber – Foaming Agents
Rubber requires a foaming agent (such as a blowing agent) to become foam rubber.
Through the introduction of certain gases, a blowing agent helps to produce holes in the foam, giving it a unique structure. It is introduced during production when the foam is still in a liquid state.
There are different types of blowing agents. Physical, Chemical, and Mixed Physical/Chemical.
Physical Blowing Agents
CFC’s are a physical blowing agent. These are fully halogenated paraffin hydrocarbons. They contain Carbon (C), Fluorine (F) and Chlorine (Cl), hence the name CFC.
CFC’s have now been outlawed as they were discovered to be an ozone depletant. Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC’s) are similar in nature and are being phased out.
Chemical Blowing Agents
Isocyanates are a chemical blowing agent which are more commonly used in the production of foam.
Due to a chemical reaction between water and isocyanates, a gaseous by-product is produced. This enables the foaming process.
Physical/Chemical Blowing Agents
To produce flexible PU Foams with very low densities a Physical/Chemical blowing agent is used. By using the two in conjunction, the thermal energy which is released and absorbed becomes balanced.
An example of a physical/chemical blowing agent would be water and isocyanates, used in combination with liquid carbon dioxide. The liquid carbon dioxide is boiled to give it a gaseous form.
The Uses of Foam Rubber
Foam rubber is used in many different applications. Daily, many use it for comfort. It can be found in sofas, car seats, mattresses, dining chairs, office chairs and much more!
As a specialist foam converter since 1976, we’ve seen many uses for foam. Some regular and some a little less conventional.
With the right equipment, foam can be converted into practically any shape or size of your choosing. Whether you’re looking for bespoke foam packaging or custom-made memory foam mattresses, we’re fully equipped to help you.
During the manufacturing process, foam can be manipulated to exhibit certain unique traits. The colour can change, the density can be raised or lowered, and the cells can be open or closed.
Here at GB Foam, we stock a wide variety of foam grades. Making it even easier for you to get the perfect foam product, custom made to your specifications.
If you need foam cut to size, you’re in the right location. Contact us today to see how we can help you.