High density foam is used in a wide variety of applications, due to its unique properties. In this article, I will discuss some of the more popular uses for high density foam and why it works so well in those particular applications. I will then discuss some of the important safety issues that you should be aware of prior to using it, and then discuss some of the major alternatives to using high density foam so that you can make a more intelligent decision regarding whether this material is appropriate for your needs.
High density foam is used extensively in furniture cushioning applications, because of its structure, which is composed of tightly packed cells which allow air to pass through them when a load is applied, making the furniture more comfortable on which to sit. This characteristic led to the creation of the high density foam mattress, also known as a high density memory foam mattress. I own a high density memory foam mattress topper, and it molds to my shape when I lay down on it, creating a comfortable and snug feeling that you can’t get with any other kind of mattress. When I get up, the foam returns to its original dimensions, hence the term, memory foam. High density foam is also used extensively in automotive and home furniture upholstery for the very same reasons. For this reason, high density foam is commonly referred to as high density upholstery foam.
Related Link: Where To Buy A High Density Foam Mattress Online
High density foam is used extensively in home insulation due to its ability to keep heat, sound, and moisture from passing through it. It is very easy to apply as all you have to do is spray the foam onto surfaces that allow heat to pass through them. The foam expands as it is being sprayed on, eliminating gaps that are so commonplace in the use of fiberglass insulation. You can get high density foam sheets to serve the same purpose, but you will have to contend with gaps in between those sheets that let heat pass through. High density foam is highly resistant to mold and condensation, largely by doing a great job of keeping out moisture. As most homeowners know, mold can make the occupants of the home sick and may even compromise the structure of the home in some instances. In addition to keeping heat from passing through it with its tightly packed cellular structure, it also contains noise very effectively, lending itself to its use in the construction of sound barriers. High density foam insulation is environmentally-friendly as it does not contain any ozone-depleting chemicals that are present in so many aerosols.
Marine, Aerospace, and Other Applications
High density foam is used frequently in marine and aerospace applications. It is used in boat seat cushions, as well as in flotation cushions due to its buoyancy properties, as well as its ability to hold up well against moisture. I have a life raft on my boat that is made of high density polyurethane foam. High density foam is also strong enough, as well as light enough, to be used in the strengthening of wings on military and commercial aircraft. Its strength also lends itself to uses in exercise equipment. For instance, you can get a high density foam roller that is used to massage your muscles after an intense workout.
High density foam has a wide variety of uses due to its tightly packed cellular structure that allows it to conform to the shape of the load being applied to it, its ability to return to form when the load is released, its buoyancy properties, and its heat and sound retention properties that make it good for insulation. You should now have a better understanding of the value of high density foam, and may be able to come up with more creative applications for it.
Safety Concerns When Using High Density Foam
One of the key drawbacks to the use of high density foam is that it is flammable and that it gives off toxic fumes as it burns. For this reason, if you buy a high density memory foam mattress, then you don’t want to smoke around it. To combat this issue, some mattress manufacturers treat their products with flame-retardant chemicals, but they can be hazardous in large doses.
Negative Impact On Air Quality
If you recently purchased a high density foam mattress, then you may want to remove it from its packaging in a well-ventilated area. This is because many of these mattresses give off fumes from volatile organic compounds once they have been removed from their packaging. These fumes usually go away within two or three days, but they can cause headaches and nausea for some people in the meantime.
If you are doing finishing work on high density foam insulation, such as sanding, then you should be aware that that may release microscopic foam particles into the air that are not only flammable, but also, hazardous to your health if you inhale them. This is why you should wear a respirator when doing this kind of work, and always do it outdoors when you can, as these particles are extremely difficult to remove.
Homes that use a heavy amount of high density foam insulation may need mechanically-induced ventilation, as the foam has a way of choking off ventilation, so you need to keep that in mind if you decide to use high density foam to insulate your home.
Small Children And Memory Foam Mattresses Don’t Mix
If you have infants or small children like I do, then you don’t want them around your memory foam mattress. As I mentioned earlier in this article, a high density foam mattress will mold around your body while you lay on it. If an infant rolls over on this mattress and lies face down, sinking into the mattress, then he or she might not be able to roll back over and breathe. So, it’s always best to keep young children away from your mattress.
Alternatives To Using High Density Foam
After reading about some of the safety concerns outlined above, you may be interested in reading about some the available alternatives to high density foam. Here, I will discuss alternatives to high density foam in a number of applications where the foam is used quite a bit.
One alternative to the memory foam mattress is the spring-core, or innerspring mattress. These mattresses are typically less expensive than their memory foam counterparts and don’t give off any fumes when they are removed from their packaging. This kind of mattress doesn’t mold to your shape when you lay down on it, making it easier to get out of in the morning. However, these mattresses only last about 7-10 years, while the high density foam mattresses typically last 10-20 years. Over time, the springs might come through the mattress, and that could cause injury in some cases.
Air mattresses are inflated by air chambers that are built into the mattress. They do tend to use foam above the air chambers for cushioning. The firmness on these mattresses can be adjusted to an extent. The prices on these mattresses vary, with the adjustable mattresses being more expensive.
While high density foam is used quite a bit in cushioning for furniture, there is a lot of furniture that doesn’t use cushioning. Wood furniture is generally cheaper than furniture that uses high density foam. It’s usually more durable, but it’s not as comfortable because it doesn’t provide any cushioning.
Low density foams are also used quite a bit in furniture applications. Low density foam is usually cheaper than high density foam, but it doesn’t provide as much cushioning, doesn’t last as long, and achieves compression set much faster, meaning that it doesn’t have as much memory.
Down is another popular option for furniture cushioning. It is very comfortable but it doesn’t last quite as long and it’s not as firm as high density foam. If a cushion or pillow that is stuffed with down gets punctured, it could result in feathers going everywhere.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, high density foam is a superior material in applications that involve home insulation. However, fiberglass insulation is cheaper, making it the most commonly-used form of home insulation. It is non-flammable and is often made from recycled materials. However, its sealing properties aren’t as good. When using fiberglass batts, the gaps between them can cause air infiltration. Fiberglass also isn’t as good at keeping out moisture.
Loose fill, or cellulose, insulation is another alternative to high density foam insulation. It is less expensive and is made mostly from recycled newspapers. It’s not as flammable, and it’s not made from petrochemical by-products. However, it doesn’t seal as well as the foam does. Its R-value isn’t as good as the foam, and it tends to absorb moisture.
After reading this post, you should now know more about the many ways in which high density foam is used, some of the safety concerns regarding its use, and some of the alternatives to using it. With this information, you should be able to make a more educated decision regarding whether this material is right for you.