Image Credit: 3M Industrial Adhesives & Tapes Canada | Dow Automotive Systems | BJB Enterprises, Inc.    Foams and foam materials are made from low density elastomers, plastics, and other materials with various porosities. They are used in a variety of architectural, industrial, medical, and consumer applications. There are six basic types of foams and foam materials:     Open cellular Closed cellular...
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Q & A on Foams and Foam Materials

We asked our users for their input on Foams and Foam Materials. Here are the results of 193 users familiar with Foams and Foam Materials.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing foam and foam material design?
29 answers
Answers:
Newer technologies have allowed for thinner material to do the same job that thicker material used to years ago. This allows for more room inside of a cabinet for components and or smaller footprint to contain the same components.
~Rob B, Purchasing/Production Manager, Lakeland, FL
Methods of cutting, more density selections, closed cell (we usually use) Zote, Ethafoam and Ester Foam are our usual purchases - however we often also require fire-retardant foam.
~Angela H, Purchaser, Markham, Canada
* environmental legislation * need for safe storage of liquefied gas, land, transportation, marine, aerospace... From a cryogenic point of view. Not into hot application
~Bjorn O, Design Engineer, Tonsberg, Norway
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative foams and foam materials?
28 answers
Answers:
Wise Industries in Old Hickory TN. Tier One and Two supplier of foam based fabricated interior components. Also does contract R&D for all types of extruded thermoplastics.
~Dan R, Research & Development, Bonita Springs, FL
I am not so aware of this . . but my Company Delta Foams has done several innovative products and applications . . so far ( since 1984 ) www.deltafoams.com
~Ranjit G, Research & Development, Pune, INDIA
Not many, mostly old stuff. Basf, and some spin-offs from aerospace - still talking cold applic.
~Bjorn O, Design Engineer, Tonsberg, Norway
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used foams and foam materials for?
51 answers
Answers:
Communication wire and cable, profiles, extruded sheet, thermoformed cups and trays, cutting boards for industrial use, railroad ties, wine corks, plastic netting, carpet backing, woven PP carpet backing, fibers, business machine housings, PP ribbon, cap liners, art board, polypropylene and polyethylene films for a variety of uses, brush blocks, shoe heels and soles, cushioned mats, medical drapes, balls used in sports (e.g. croquet, polo etc)
~Renee L, Technology Manager, Plantsville, CT
F/A-18 Hornet: Aerodynamic Fairings of Wing Flap Hinges. JLab's CLAS Forward Calorimeters: Stainless Steel & Structural Foam 3 inch thick Composite Front & Rear Plates 3m x 3.5m (low particle absorption properties). UAV-II Composite Fuselage& Stub Wings
~Engineering, Design, Hampton, VA
Structural foam core composites for areospace; headliners,bedliners and truckliners for automotive; footwear; insect repellent foams for agriculture;microwaveable packaging; foam core pipe; structural foam molded pallets and bins
~Dan R, Research & Development, Bonita Springs, FL
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that foams and foam materials have been used for.
18 answers
Answers:
I have several so to say . . . and I strongly BELIEVE that foams have a great role to play in reducing the impact of CLIMATE CHANGE. Rural mass housing, Urban housing, Deviation from conventional brick and mortar materials of housing, third world energy conservation, Food preservation, etc etc
~Ranjit G, Research & Development, Pune, INDIA
Insulated a simple plain steel shell garage door with leftover scraps. I killed two birds with one stone so the saying goes. It made it a lot more comfortable to work in the garage year around, and I could run my table saw at midnight and not disturb the neighbors.
~Rob B, Purchasing/Production Manager, Lakeland, FL
The ability to produce "floating" dredge hoses of large diameter, >600 mm. The use of foam in cavities of large screening machines to keep our moisture and prevent corrosion.
~Charles D, Technical Support, Johannesburg, South Africa
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of foams and foam materials?
13 answers
Answers:
Clad Insulation envelope systems for Carbon dioxide tank silos ( 80 kilo litre capacity, vertical storage tank ) which had 'iced up' due to poor quality of insulation. Though the insulation thickness was 250 mm thick, the rise in internal tank temperature and pressure was enormous, and the client had installed refrigeration equipment as a safety measure, and further a 100% standby refrigeration machine to safeguard in case of failure . . of the first machine . . I thought this was CRAZY . . . on part of the plant not to have recognized the ROOT CAUSE mistake in the FIRST place itself.
~Ranjit G, Research & Development, Pune, INDIA
Critical damage of structural parts, bucking damage. High temperature rate transfer (bad insulation design) Damage of the foam due to chemical reaction by polyester resin or neoprene.
~Richard Maturana, Design Engineer, Concepcion BioBio, Chile
Foam not compatible with product manufacturing process- outgassing of foam degrading bond of foam core material to composite skins, and compromising composite sandwich structure.
~Steve B, Principal/ Composite Engineer, Bristol, RI
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
23 answers
Answers:
I think Foams ARE the future . . and a lot of innovative uses can be done using foams . . alone, or in combination with other polymer materials, as well as reinforcements. You can SAVE LIVES TOO, with appropriately designed innovative product concepts. Disaster management roles, etc etc.
~Ranjit G, Research & Development, Pune, INDIA
Flexibility in cold condition, low moduli vs elongation at break, controllable CTE, low thermal conductivity, closed cell i.e. Low water vapour perm., good fire properties, «green»
~Bjorn O, Design Engineer, Tonsberg, Norway
Low weight Chemical stability in vacuum processes High tensile/compression modulus for sandwich structures Good finished surface after a cutting processes Price
~Richard Maturana, Design Engineer, Concepcion BioBio, Chile
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Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of foams and foam materials?
15 answers
Answers:
Most companies do call for Neoprene materials as the name neoprene relates to sponge rubbers . Most of the nowadays applications are not in Neoprene but light EPDM or nowadays EPDM+ Polymeric blends. That is the new trends of the world markets .. Call for these novelties that are more economical and efficient.
~Yves BISBROUCK, General Management, Toulon, France
Don't listen to the material experts, don't read the specs, think new and use common sense and engineering judgement. Everybody knows steel, foam is a different matter, theory is a tool, experience everything.. (still talking cryogenic structural / thermal interaction)
~Bjorn O, Design Engineer, Tonsberg, Norway
Do not attempt to use foam for something it was NOT intended for, such as material specified for hot applications. Don't use in freezing conditions.
~Rob B, Purchasing/Production Manager, Lakeland, FL
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using foams and foam materials?
16 answers
Answers:
Use experienced people with practical knowledge, and check out all alternatives. Conservative business with a lot of ignorance and lack of knowledge among the decision makers and regulatory bodies.
~Bjorn O, Design Engineer, Tonsberg, Norway
To check their objective and to evaluate the foam according their requirements. There are many different foams for different applications, be careful and see the data sheet.
~Richard Maturana, Design Engineer, Concepcion BioBio, Chile
Share as much information with your supplier as to your needs for materials so that they can better help you select the best product for your application.
~Rob B, Purchasing/Production Manager, Lakeland, FL
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