Polyurethane (PU) Foam 

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Polyurethane (PU) Foam

Polyurethane (PU) foam is a versatile and widely used material known for its excellent cushioning, insulation, and structural properties. It’s widely used as a packaging material, insulation material, and as a component in many products from a wide range of industries. It’s also notable for being the primary component of foam mattresses and commercial and residential furniture. 

What is Polyurethane Foam?

Polyurethane Foam is a soft, low-density foam (although high density PU foam options are available). The foam is a polymer that is composed of organic units joined by urethane links, resulting from the reaction between polyols and diisocyanates. 

The primary components of polyurethane foam include: 

  • Polyols: polyether or polyester-based compounds that determine the foam’s flexibility and resilience. 
  • Diisocyanates: typically, TDI (Toluene Diisocyanate) or MDI (Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate), which react with polyols to form the urethane bonds.

Polyurethane foam is produced through a process called polymerization, where polyols and diisocyanates are mixed with catalysts, surfactants, and blowing agents. The reaction generates heat and gas, creating a foam that can be molded into various shapes and sizes. The foam is then cured to stabilize its structure. Blowing agents are also used to create the foam’s cellular structure by producing gas during the reaction. 

The Strengths of Polyurethane Foam: 

  • Range of Densities: from very low to high, affecting the foam’s hardness and durability. 
  • Flexibility: the foam varies from soft and cushioning to rigid and structural. 
  • Resilience: it can return to its original shape after compression. 
  • Thermal Insulation: it has excellent insulating properties, making it ideal for temperature control applications. 
  • Chemical Resistance: it’s resistant to many solvents and chemicals, though susceptibility varies with formulation. 
  • Versatility: can be formulated to be flexible or rigid, catering to a wide range of applications. 
  • Comfort: excellent cushioning properties for comfort and protection. It’s also nonabrasive. 
  • Lightweight: high strength-to-weight ratio. 
  • Durability: long-lasting with good wear resistance. 

 

The Drawbacks of PU Foam 

  • Cost: can be more expensive than other foams. 
  • Sensitivity to UV Light: susceptible to degradation when exposed to sunlight. 
  • Flammability: requires the addition of flame retardants to meet UL 94 safety standards. 
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Ester Polyurethane Foam vs Ether Polyurethane Foam

Ester and ether urethanes differ based on their bases, with ester PU foam having a polyester base and ether PU having a polyether triol base. These bases, when combined with differing additives, result in two similar types of foam that have different properties:

Ester Polyurethane Foam

  • Density: generally higher than ether foams. 
  • Durability: more resistant to abrasion and wear. 
  • Chemical Resistance: superior resistance to hydrocarbons, oils, and fuels. 
  • Hydrolytic Stability: less resistant to moisture and hydrolysis, prone to degradation in humid conditions.

Ether Polyurethane Foam

  • Density: typically lower, offering greater flexibility and softness. 
  • Durability: good tensile strength and resilience. 
  • Chemical Resistance: excellent resistance to water and most solvents.
  • Hydrolytic Stability: superior resistance to moisture, making it more suitable for humid environments. 

The Applications of Polyurethane Foam

  • Automotive Industry: used in seating, headrests, armrests, and insulation. 
  • Construction: insulation panels, sealants, and adhesives. 
  • Furniture: cushions, mattresses, and padding. 
  • Medical: prosthetics, orthotics, and medical mattresses. 
  • Packaging: protective packaging for delicate items. 
  • Electronics: foam inserts for component protection and thermal management. 
  • Aerospace: lightweight, high-strength components and insulation. 
  • Appliance Manufacturing: insulating layers in refrigerators and freezers. 
  • Marine: buoyancy aids and anti-vibration pads. 

Amcon Fabricates Custom Polyurethane Foam

At Amcon Foam, we leverage many fabrication techniques to custom cut and shape polyurethane so it can be tailored to meet the exact specifications and requirements of your applications, ensuring optimal performance and cost-efficiency. We fabricate:

  • Custom Protective Packaging for Shipping
  • Custom Case Inserts
  • Custom Foam Parts for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)

Learn More About Our Custom Foam Fabrication Capabilities

Technical Documents for Polyurethane Foam 

Packaging Foam Material Specs

CodeStyleSDSTechnicalCushioning CurvesStatesType
2450GY1.0# 30 IFDMN and COEther PU
35001.25# 36 IFDMN and COEther PU
3850-GY1.5# 60 IFDMinnesotaEther PU
43001.25# 35 IFD A/SMN and COEther PU
45001.9# 42 IFD A/SMinnesotaEther PU
7650-GY1.5# 70 IFDMinnesotaEther PU
7700-GY1.8# 70 IFDMN and COEther PU
8800ASE1.8# 90 IFD A/SMN and COEther PU
8800GY1.8# 90 IFDMN and COEther PU
99002.5# 140 IFDMinnesotaEther PU
CF BLACK1.45# 50 IFDMinnesotaEther PU
CF BLUE1.5# 50 IFDMN and COEther PU
MIL C1.55# 48 IFD MIL-P-26514GMN and COEther PU
LD30SD1.87# XLPEMN and COESD Foam
LD32CN2.0# XLPEMN and COESD Foam
ESD FOAM1.8# 50 IFDMN and COESD Foam
72002.1# MVSS302MN and COEster PU
AB1701.7# Black LamColoradoPolyethylene
AB2002.2# Black ExtMN and COPolyethylene
AB200LA2.2# Black Ext Low AbrasionMinnesotaPolyethylene
AB4004.6# Black ExtMN and COPolyethylene
ABL1604.6# Black ExtColoradoPolyethylene
ABL1801.8# Blue ExtMinnesotaPolyethylene
AS2002.2# Pink Ext A/SMN and COPolyethylene
AS4004.6# Pink Ext A/SMinnesotaPolyethylene
ASL1701.7# Pink Lam A/SMN and COPolyethylene
AW1201.35# Natural ExtMinnesotaPolyethylene
AW1501.5# White LamMinnesotaPolyethylene
AW1801.9# Natural ExtMinnesotaPolyethylene
AW2002.2# White ExtMN and COPolyethylene
AW200LA2.2# White Ext Low AbrasionMinnesotaPolyethylene
AW4004.0# White ExtMN and COPolyethylene
AW6006.0# White ExtMN and COPolyethylene
AW9009.3# White ExtMN and COPolyethylene
AWL1701.7# White LamMN and COPolyethylene
AWL2002.2# White LamMN and COPolyethylene
FRAS22.2# Green Ext A/S FRMinnesotaPolyethylene
RCB1701.8# BlackMinnesotaPolyethylene
RBE1701.65# BlackMN and COPolyethylene
LD181.18# Cross-linked PEMinnesotaXLPE
LD241.49# Cross-linked PEMinnesotaXLPE
XL20002.0# Cross-linked PEMN and COXLPE
XL2000/EVA2.0# Cross-linked PE w/EVAMN and COXLPE
XL40004.0# Cross-linked PEMN and COXLPE
I-Cell2.0#MN and COXLPE
VA352.10#MN and COXLPE
EPE13WH1.3# White Beaded PEMN and COEPE
EPE13BK1.3# Black Beaded PEMN and COEPE
EPE15WH1.5# White Beaded PEMN and COEPE
EPE15BK1.5# Black Beaded PEMN and COEPE
EPE19WH1.9# White Beaded PEMN and COEPE
EPE19BK1.9# Black Beaded PEMN and COEPE
EPE23WH2.3# White Beaded PEMinnesotaEPE
EPE23BK2.3# Black Beaded PEMinnesotaEPE
EPE28WH2.8# White Beaded PEMinnesotaEPE
EPE28BK2.8# Black Beaded PEMinnesotaEPE
EPP13WH1.3# White Beaded PPMN and COEPP
EPP13BK1.3# Black Beaded PPMN and COEPP
EPP19WH1.9# White Beaded PPMN and COEPP
EPP19BK1.9# Black Beaded PPMN and COEPP
EPP28WH2.8# White Beaded PPMinnesotaEPP
EPP28BK2.8# Black Beaded PPMinnesotaEPP
N41946# SCE 41 Blended NeopreneMN and CONeoprene
N42946# SCE 42 Blended NeopreneMN and CONeoprene
N43949# SCE 43 Blended NeopreneMN and CONeoprene

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