Elongation in Foam: Why it Matters to Your Application

Selecting the right foam for your application involves understanding several different types of material properties, one of which is elongation percentage. Why is elongation percentage important? In as few words as possible, it can help determine how foam will perform under stress and how it can best be used in packaging or as a component in your products. What exactly is elongation percentage, how does it apply to foam, and why is it essential for making a choice in material for your specific needs?  

What is Elongation Percentage?

Elongation percentage is a measure of how much a material can stretch or elongate before it breaks. It is expressed as a percentage of the material’s original length. For example, if a piece of foam stretches to 150% of its original length before breaking, its elongation percentage is 150%. 

How Does Elongation Percentage Apply to Foam?

In the context of foam, elongation percentage indicates the foam’s ability to deform under tensile stress. This property is particularly important for applications where the foam needs to absorb impacts, bend, or stretch without tearing. High elongation percentage foams are more flexible and can withstand greater deformation, making them suitable for applications requiring resilience and durability. 

What is Elongation at Break?

Elongation at break is the point at which the foam will break when subjected to tensile stress. It represents the maximum extent to which the foam can be stretched or elongated before it fails. This property is crucial for determining the foam’s durability and how it will perform under extreme conditions. Foams with high elongation at break are more likely to withstand rough handling and repeated use without tearing. 

What is Elongation at Yield?

Elongation at yield is the point at which the foam begins to deform permanently. Beyond this point, the foam will not return to its original shape after the stress is removed. This property is essential for applications where the foam needs to maintain its shape and structure after being stretched or compressed. Understanding the elongation at yield helps in choosing foams that can withstand temporary stress without undergoing permanent deformation. 

What’s the Difference Between Elongation Percentage and Tensile Strength?

Elongation percentage and tensile strength are related but distinct properties: Elongation Percentage measures how much a foam can stretch before it breaks. It indicates the flexibility and ductility of the foam. Tensile Strength measures the maximum amount of tensile stress that a foam can withstand before it breaks. It indicates the strength and load-bearing capacity of the foam. 

While tensile strength focuses on the force required to break the foam, elongation percentage focuses on the foam’s ability to deform. Both properties are important in assessing the foam’s performance, but they serve different purposes. For instance, a foam with high tensile strength but low elongation might be strong but brittle, while a foam with high elongation but lower tensile strength might be more flexible but less able to bear heavy loads. 

Why Does Elongation Matter in Foam Applications?

Understanding elongation percentage is crucial for selecting the right foam for various applications. Here are several reasons why elongation matters: 

  • Impact Absorption: foams with high elongation can absorb impacts better by deforming and dissipating energy, making them ideal for protective packaging and cushioning. 
  • Flexibility and Durability: high elongation foams can withstand bending and stretching, making them suitable for applications that require flexibility and resilience, such as automotive interiors and seating. 
  • Customization: by understanding the elongation properties, manufacturers can customize foam products to meet specific needs, whether it’s for protective gear, medical devices, or consumer products. 
  • Performance Under Stress: knowing the elongation at break and yield helps in predicting how the foam will perform under various stress conditions, ensuring the selected foam will not fail during use. 
  • Long-Term Use: foams with the right balance of elongation and tensile strength can offer better longevity, maintaining their protective or structural properties over time. 

Need Foam with a High Elongation Percentage?

High elongation foams offer flexibility, durability, and impact absorption, making them suitable for a wide range of uses. Whether you’re looking to protect delicate items during shipping or create resilient components for industrial applications, considering elongation will help ensure your foam products meet your performance requirements. 


Get the Foam You Need from a Reliable Fabrication Partner. Get in touch with Our Team at Amcon Foam Today!