Foam and Rubber Glossary

See our glossary and read up on the key terms and definitions when shopping for the right foam and rubber products

Bonded foam Created by gluing shredded flexible polyurethane foam together. Commonly used as carpet cushioning. 100% recycled material and 100% recyclable.¹
Compression set Measure of the deformation of foam after being held compressed, under controlled temperature conditions, for a set time¹. The lower the percentage, the better the material resists permanent deformation.
Convoluted A specialist foam fabrication process to produce a foam pad with peaks and valleys. Convolution is commonly used to produce “egg-crate” style, but modern technologies enable a wide range of styles to be manufactured, such like the varying profiles of modern mattresses. ¹,²
Cross-linked The establishment of a chemical or physical bond between the molecular chains of a polymer, thereby enhancing its physical properties.
Density A measurement of the mass per unit volume. Foam is usually expressed in kilograms per cubic metre (kg/m³). Density is not a measurement of a foam’s firmness or hardness; however, higher density foam generally offers better quality and performance.¹ ²
Durability Measure of how well a foam retains its shape, support, but importantly its comfort, even with frequent use.¹
Elongation A measure of the degree to which foam can be stretched before it breaks¹. The higher the percentage, the higher amount of strain a material can experience before breaking.
Flame Retardant Ability to resist combustion. A flame retardant rubber or foam is considered not to burn after the source of ignition has been removed.
Indentation force deflection (IFD) A measure of the load bearing capacity or firmness of foam. Usually measured by the number of pounds/lb it takes to compress foam to 25% of its original thickness. The higher the 25% IFD, the firmer the surface will feel.¹
Lamination A fabrication process that bonds one foam variety to another using durable adhesives or exposure to high temperatures. Lamination can be used to combine foams with differing physical properties to obtain desired combinations of comfort and support.¹
Recovery 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.¹
Resilience 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%.¹
Rigid foam Made up of hundreds of millions of closely packed air cells. Rigid foam has excellent thermal performance and its extremely moisture resistant.¹
Shore A A scale used to measure the hardness of soft rubbers, plastics and elastometers. Used most effectively between 10 to 95 Shore A hardness; for materials harder than A 95, the Shore D scale is recommended.
Shore OO A scale used to measure the hardness of light foams and sponge rubber.
Slab stock Polyurethane foam made by the continuous pouring of mixed liquids onto a conveyor, creating a continuous run of foam.²
Surface firmness The measurement of weight necessary to indent a foam sample by 25% of its original thickness. Also known as 25% IFD.¹ ²
Tensile strength A test that measure the pounds per square inch/PSI of strength required to stretch a material to its breaking point.¹ ²
Urethane 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.¹
Virgin foam Unfilled, flexible slab stock that has not been processed in any other manner other than cutting to shape.¹

References:
¹Polyurethane Foam Association
²Carpenter - World Lead in Polyurethane Foam

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