Foam and Rubber Material Guide

Polyurethane "Open Cell" foam

Polyurethane Foam, or "Open Cell" Foam

Production of commercial polyurethane (PU) foam began in Britain over 60 years ago, and is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Britain today. You will find polyurethane foam, or "open cell" foam, is commonly used in furniture and upholstery to provide comfort to your sofa, chairs, bedding or car. PU foam is a polymer with an open cell structure that allows air to escape and water to pass through its cells. As a result, PU foam can be tightly compressed and recover to its original shape. Consequentially, PU foam tends to feel softer and spongy to touch, hence its long-standing application in furniture.

The demand for British polyurethane foam has always been high, due to the material’s unique properties, and these include:
  • Low density
  • Excellent cushioning
  • High resistance to fatigue and ageing
  • Sound absorption/ acoustic properties
  • Easily shaped, cut and moulded
  • Resistant to bacterial and fungal growth
  • Retains dye and colouring pigments
  • 100% recyclable - used to produce reconstituted foam/ “chip foam”
  • Permeable and low UV resistance, and therefore not suited to outdoor applications (unless wrapped to inhibit sunlight and exposure to weather)
  • Adheres to stringent British fire standards for furniture.
PU foam is a flexible foam and can be created in almost any variety of shapes and firmness. In consumer and commercial products, PU foam is used for bedding, furniture, automotive interiors, caravan renovations, carpet underlay and packaging. Although for the creative consumers, polyurethane foam is simply a soft, easily fabricated foam suitable for many DIY and crafts projects - as long as it is kept out of the rain or direct sunlight.

At Foamrite, we buy and stock virgin PU foam in large blocks to be used in our manufacturing, whether that is to create finished products, a component for fabrication, or simply to supply raw material.

For more information on polyurethane foam, or our polyurethane products, please message us via our Contact Us page or call 0151 298 1038.


Acoustic Foam (RX25-140)Acoustic Foam (RX25-140)£11.34
Upholstery Foam - Superior Firm (RX39-200)Upholstery Foam - Superior Firm (RX39-200)£12.38
6lb Recon/ Chip Foam (RB095)6lb Recon/ Chip Foam (RB095)£12.17
Polyethylene "Closed Cell" foam

Polyethylene foam, or "Closed Cell" Foam

Polyethylene (PE) foam is a closed cell, durable and rigid polymer used for its waterproof, shock absorbing and thermal insulating properties. Polyethylene has a uniformed, chemically cross-linked cell structure that hones superior physical features, including:
  • High tensile strength
  • High durability and resilience
  • Impermeable and weather resistant
  • Good shock absorption
  • High resistance to wear and tear
  • Temperature resistant between -60°C to 90°C
  • Flexible and mouldable
  • Non-toxic
  • Lightweight
  • Impervious to bacteria, mildew and rot
  • Suitable for splitting, die cutting, milling, thermoulding, laminating and gluing.
PE foam is primarily used in packaging, buoyancy, orthopaedic support, and thermal insulation. It is commonly known in forms HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) and LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene), however polyethylene foam can also be manufactured with select additives for specialist purposes such as elastic (EVA), anti-static, ultra-high density, high thermal, amongst others.

Polyethylene foam is an extremely versatile material that is popular with consumers and businesses alike due to its waterproof properties, wide range of densities and hardness, and ability to be easily fabricated. Some of the more creative uses of PE foam include:
  • Case inserts
  • Cosplay
  • Outdoor play mats/ judo mats
  • Floor waterproofing membranes
  • Garage drawer liners and anti-vibration padding, and more.
Foamrite can supply a vast range of thicknesses and densities of polyethylene from 25kg/m³ to 167kg/m³, and in a variety of different colours. Our PE is available to buy as sheet material for a number of home, commercial and industrial applications.

For more information on polyethylene foam, or our polyethylene products, please message us via our Contact Us page or call 0151 298 1038.


PE30 EVA ColoursPE30 EVA Colours£12.49
PE30 Flame RetardantPE30 Flame Retardant£12.16
PE45 ColoursPE45 Colours£13.09
PEM30-X ColoursPEM30-X Colours£12.30
PE60PE60£10.82
PE100PE100£19.16
Solid Rubber

Solid Rubber

Solid rubber is an industrial antonym for cellular rubber. It is an elastometer with an undefined cell structure used for its high levels of tolerance to abrasion and stress. Solid rubber is a very versatile material that is commonly manufactured with different compounds for specific applications, and given a different name. Examples of these are:
  • Neoprene, a multi-purpose industrial rubber popular for its resistance to oils, grease, and dilute acids and alkalis
  • SBR, a light/medium duty material for applications involving air and water
  • Nitrile, a general use material with excellent resistance to petroleum oil, grease and acids
  • EPDM, an industrial material known for its excellent resistance to acids, chemicals, heat ageing, UV and ozone weathering.
Generally speaking, solid rubber is an extremely durable and hard-wearing material with various home and commercial applications. However, you will see solid rubber most commonly used for shock absorption, anti-vibration padding, protective surfacing, and gaskets and seals. Solid rubber is available as sheets, rolls and mats.


Solid Commercial RubberSolid Commercial Rubber£23.97
Solid Commercial Ribbed RubberSolid Commercial Ribbed Rubber£16.39
Neoprene Rubber CR180Neoprene Rubber CR180£21.74
Cellular Rubber

Cellular Rubber, or Sponge Rubber

Cellular rubber, unlike solid rubber, has a defined cell structure that is formed by a foaming agent creating air pockets in manufacturing. Cellular rubber is less dense and softer than solid rubber, but also more absorbent with greater thermal properties. Broadly speaking, there are two types of cellular rubber created in manufacturing today, and again they are defined by their cell structures: closed cell rubber and open cell rubber.

Open Cell Rubber

Open cell rubber, or sponge rubber, has an aesthetic visible open cell structure, whereby all cells are interconnected to neighbouring cells and allow air and liquid to pass between the cells.

Open cell rubber is soft to tough with good absorbent qualities, but its unique feature is its ability to retain its shape after being compressed or manipulated. As a result, open cell rubber is very popular with consumers and commercial industry alike.

Closed Cell Rubber

Closed cell rubber, or expanded rubber, has a closed cell structure consisting of enclosed cells independent from other cells. Due to this cell structure, closed rubber is known for its ability to resist water absorption, and thus stay afloat in water.


RO12 Black Open Cell RubberRO12 Black Open Cell Rubber£19.87
RO15 Red Open Cell RubberRO15 Red Open Cell Rubber£23.29


For more information on our rubber, or rubber products, please message us via our Contact Us page or call 0151 298 1038.

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