Open Cell Foam – What it is & Where to Buy

Open cell foam is likely the type of foam that you’re most familiar with. It’s used to make objects many of us use every day.

If you own a foam mattress, it’ll be made from open cell foam. Your sofa cushions may also be made of it. Other uses include certain types of packaging, acoustic treatment and pit foam; just to name a few.

Due to its flexible and versatile nature, open cell foam is often used in applications aimed at providing support and comfort. However, the physical properties of foam can be highly manipulated. This helps to make open cell foams suitable for many applications.

How Open Cell Foam is Made

Although often shortened, the word foam does not describe a specific material. Instead, foam refers to the compositional structure of a substance.

The technical name for the material in your mattress, for example, isn’t just “foam”. It’s viscoelastic polyurethane foam; more commonly referred to as memory foam.

Foams are created when certain substances become aerated. Certain foaming agents are introduced to help create closed-off pockets (in regards to closed cell foam) or open cells (in regards to open cell foam).

Perhaps you’ve seen chefs on TV create culinary foam? They take some ingredients (let’s say lemon juice, sugar, water & egg whites), mix it with a gelling/stabilising agent (such as gelatin), blend it and then charge it with a gas (N2O). This results in the food taking on a whole new “foamy” form.

A similar process applies to the creation of open cell foams. First, a blowing agent must be introduced to a polyol mixture (these blowing agents can be physical, chemical or physical/chemical).

Nowadays, a lot of foam is made using a chemical agent called isocyanates. When reacted with water, isocyanates create a gaseous by-product that enables the foaming process. Physical blowing agents called CFCs used to be used, but have since been outlawed, due to the environmental implications they pose.

Where to Buy

Whether you’re looking for open cell foam or closed cell foam, Foam Direct can supply what you need.

We stock a wide variety of foams suitable for many purposes. The majority of our foams are high density to help ensure longevity and are available with everything from a soft to a firm feel.

You can use our foam cut to size service to buy open cell foam cut to the size and shape you need. We have more than 20 shape templates to choose from and even a custom option that lets you provide your own template.

We even stock a variety of foam sheets, including upholstery foam and Plastazote closed cell foam.

Speak to our Team

If you can’t find what you’re looking for or would like to speak to one of our experts about the foam cutting services we provide, feel free to contact us. Visit our contact page to get in touch with a member of our team.

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1 Comment

  1. I am trying to make an air filter for a vacuum cleaner. I need a piece of foam about 13 cms x 10 cms
    and 2 cms thick. Really small cells if possible. Electrolux do not have the filter in stock anymore. Size not critical as I will cut the foam to make a conical filter.

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