An Overview Of Foam Materials

An Overview Of Foam Materials

There are different types of foam materials, each serving certain functions.

The most common way people protect their equipment inside of a carrying case, transit case, or shipping case is with foam cushioning. There are different types of foam materials, each serving certain functions.

Foam Material Types

Foam cushioning materials can be placed into two primary categories: open cell and closed cell.


Open cell foam materials have interconnected cells. This allows liquids and gasses to flow in-between cells and allow them to escape. A common example of an open cell foam would be a sponge. A foam’s ability to resist compression depends on the rate of flow from the liquids or gasses as they travel between cells, as well as the cell wall’ resistance to becoming deformed.


Closed cells, as their name would suggest, have closed cell structure. Rather than having gasses travel freely between cells, they cannot travel between the cells anymore. This means that the cell foam’s resistance to compression gets determined in part by the wall’s resistance to deformation and ruptures, as well as the added pressure inside of the cell. Since the gasses are sealed, increasing compression (decreasing volume) increases the pressure, and with enough pressure, the cell walls will rupture.

Foam Density

Finding the density of an object involves dividing the object’s mass by its volume. Density for foam materials is expressed as PCF( per cubic foot), at least in North America. A measurement used outside of the western world is kilogram per cubic meter. When you have more material in a foam substrate, you increase its density

This can be done in two ways.First, you can add more cells which increases the number of cell walls. The alternative is to keep the number of cells constant, or even reduce them, but in exchange, you increase the thickness of the cell walls.

Remember, how foam materials perform is in part because of the rigidity of the cell wall. Raising the number of cell walls or increasing the thickness of existing walls will, therefore, increase rigidity. By increasing the rigidity of foam materials, it will become more resistant to compression, making your case a safer option for keeping your belongings.

Common Foam Items And How To Choose One

There are plenty of options for foam materials. The most common ones are polyethylene and polyurethane foam variations. Polyethylene foams tend to be closed cell while polyurethane foams are typically open cell.

When you consider what foam materials to get, you’ll want to think about how it will perform, the cost of the material, if it needs to be cleaned, or if it requires specific foam properties like being anti-static or resistant to fire.

Leave Your Packing Needs To PSI Cases

PSI Cases have assembled personnel with over 50 years of combined experience in design, engineering, development, manufacturing, and sales. We design and manufacture systems integration packages and container solutions for clientele who represent interest from the private sector and government agencies.No matter what you need to carry, PSI Cases will be sure to have the right case for the job.


You can view our website here, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Linkedin.

Tags: , ,