Flexible polyurethane foam is one of the most versatile foam products available on the market today. It’s known for its qualities that include: high resiliency, light weight, mildew resistant, and free from odors.
Many of you might not be aware of the fact that polyurethane foam is all around you. In homes you’ll commonly see them in mattresses and upholstered furniture. In cars, headrests, roof liners, and armrests are common areas where this foam is placed inside of. Heck, even your custom outdoor cushions might have some form of polyurethane foam in it also. With over a billion pounds being produced every year in the United States, it continues to play a huge role in societal functions.
To create flexible polyurethane foam, the manufacturer combines polyol and a diisocyanate of water. This reaction is similar to baking bread as it rises in a similar fashion. There are two production processes that follow this reaction afterwards: slabstock and molding.
Slabstock is a method that is used for furniture cushions and beds. The mixture is poured into a specially-designed conveyor that moves continuously to ensure it gets produced in a smooth and even form. Upon expansion, the foam is then cut and stored for 24 hours, which then allows for it to be fabricated into a variety of shapes and sizes.
Molding is commonly used for automobile cushions and office furniture. Using a specially-designed encasing, the foam mixture is poured inside and kept there until it settles and rises within the enclosure.
Flexible polyurethane foam continues to be mass produced for a variety of applications. Because of its versatile nature, it remains a popular choice for everything from armrest fixtures to use in medical settings.