Poron Foam: An All-Encompassing Manufacturing Material 

Polymers are among the most popular materials in the world today. And, among polymers, there is a special class called polyurethanes. Known for their flexibility and use across multiple industries, polyurethanes are truly a breakthrough in material sciences. 

Today, innovations in the development and use of polyurethanes have expanded the class of materials even more. And, among those innovations, one of the most impressive is poron foam. The material today is used almost everywhere – literally even in space. 

This piece will dive extensively into poron foam – what it is, the different types available, and everything else you need to know about this groundbreaking material.

A Beginner’s Guide To Poron Foam

poron polyurethane foam

Poron® foam is a brand of microcellular urethane foam material that has found use in different industries. The material has become especially important for its optimal compression set resistance, which allows it to take consistent compression and still maintain its original shape and properties. 

Besides this, poron foam comes with a traditional cell design that allows it to maintain its longevity and durability in the face of constant contact. So, who makes poron foam?

Well, the material was developed by Rogers Corporation – a specialty engineering and materials manufacturing company based out of Chandler, Arizona. The company, which was founded back in 1832, produces a broad range of materials that can be used across different industries.

Initially, the material for poron foam was developed in 1958 by Rogers following a material development partnership signed with the United Shoe Machinery Corporation. The foam poron material was first used as a cushioning material for shoes, but its use soon expanded. From poron foam insoles, different other functions of the material have been discovered over the past few decades. 

So far, Rogers has secured patents for well over 30 poron industrial polyurethanes. Each of these products makes use of the distinct properties found in the primary poron foam material, each to its own specific ends. And, when you take a look at the poron foam data sheet, you’ll see that the material is truly a marvel. 

Of course, considering that there are so many poron foam materials available, understanding which to go for is important. Fortunately for you, we at Legenday are experts on this material and will be able to get just what you need.

Properties and Composition of Poron Foam 

So, let’s begin with an examination of what makes poron foam and how it gets its unique characteristics:

Chemical Composition and Manufacturing Process 

Poron foam is a patented product. And, as such, its manufacturers don’t reveal much about the material’s overall composition.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that poron foam is classified as cellular urethane foam. And, this means that the material comes with the base of polyurethane. The flexible and popular polymer is produced when polyols react with diisocyanates. However, keep in mind that the type of polyols and diisocyanates – as well as their formulations – will most likely differ based on the type of poron foam you’re looking to make. 

Moving on, advancements in material development have also led to the addition of fillers, stabilizers, flame retardants, and other additives. These components essentially improve specific properties and characteristics of the poron foam material – thus making it perfect for specific applications. 

Just like other materials, remember that manufacturers can essentially change the composition of your poron foam based on what you’d like to use it for. We recommend that you speak with your supplier for more information about the material’s build as they will be able to shed more light on this. 

As for the manufacturing process, we already covered that most manufacturers choose their own steps- including and especially Rogers Corporation. Regardless, a typical manufacturing process for the material should go like this:

  • Prepolymer Formation: In this step, a prepolymer is created via the combination of polyols and diisocyanates. In an ideal situation, this combination should form a reactive intermediate material. 
  • Blending: Next, you blend the prepolymer with the additives you’d like to mix. These could be stabilizers, coloring agents, catalysts, erc. As explained earlier, the job of these additives is to enhance specific properties and characteristics of the poron foam material. 
  • Foaming: With your precis mix, go ahead to pour it all into a mold or a conveyor belt. In this ase, we’d recommend adding a blowing agent as it would improve the expansion of the mixture in order to form a cellular structure. Just as well, the blowing agent will lead to the  generation of bubbles all within the mixture, thus causing the foam to form. 
  • Expansion and Curing: For this process, it is important to be careful and measured. With expansion, the foam is allowed to rise and carefully fill the mold. Or, you could want to use it to form a continuous poron foam sheet. As part of the expansion stage, the foam is allowed to cure and solidify to form its final shape. 
  • Post-processing: Once you have your foam, you can take it through different post-processing steps – trimming, shaping, and more. This allows you to get the proper dimensions and specifications of the material and optimize its form. 

Some additional post-formation treatments can also be conducted – including coatings, surface modifications, and bonding layers. All of these will depend on the exact application requirements.

Poron Foam’s Physical Properties

Poron foam exhibits a broad range of physical properties that help contribute to its impressive performance and characteristics. Although the general values can vary based on the grades and formulations, here are some of the physical properties available with poron foam:

  • Density: Poron foam typically comes with a moderate to high density level. This makes it great for support and cushioning across different applications.
  • Compression Set: One of the more prominent features of poron foam is the material’s impressive compression set resistance. Essentially, poron foam is able to perfectly withstand constant compression and go back to its original shape. With this property, you can rest assured of long-term use for poron foam.
  • Thickness: When it comes to thickness, poron foam is flexible. You can find it in different thickness levels, with optimal customization that allows it to meet different application requirements. 
  • Durometer Rating: In general, a durometer assesses a foam’s softness or hardness. In terms of poron foam, you have a material that easily ranges from moderately soft to moderately firm. 
  • Energy Absorption: Poron foam is perfectly able to absorb energy. Once it receives impact, it soaks the energy in, dissipating it and maintaining its form. 
  • Tensile Strength: Poron foam has an impressive tensile strength, essentially resisting any form of tearing or breaking under tension. This also contributes to the material’s longevity.
  • Elongation: Typically, poron foam comes with moderate elongation capabilities – meaning that it does quite well with holding its original properties when it is stretched. 
  • Thermal Stability: You can count on poron foam to also maintain its properties across a broad temperature range – whether hot or cold. In both high and low-temperature environments, the material is reliable.
  • Water Absorption: With the poron closed cell foam, you will be able to get optimal prevention against water absorption. This property ensures that the material won’t be affected by the introduction of moisture to its surface. 

Remember that it is possible to adjust the poron foam formulation process to make changes to these physical properties based on the desired requirement. We’re experts at this at Legenday, and we will be able to help craft the perfect poron foam material for you dep[ending on your requirements.

The Mechanical Properties of Poron Foam

The mechanical properties of poron foam are quite similar to its physical properties. However, there are several features that represent the material’s impressive mechanical strength across the board. Here are a few:

  • Elasticity: Poron foam is a solid elastic material. Despite compression or deformation, it is able to return to its initial position without much delay.
  • Flexibility: You also get impressive flexibility from poron foam. The material can be shaped or bent to form different designs and contours, thus making it perfect for the development of complex shapes and surfaces.
  • Tear Resistance: Poron foam will easily resist ripping or tearing when it is subjected to significant stress or external forces. This also contributes to the material’s long-term durability
  • Shear Resistance: With shear resistance, poron foam easily withstands forces that are applied parallel to its surface without deforming or experiencing material failure. For applications that will involve sliding forces or shearing, poron foam is a sure lock. 
  • Resilience: Poron foam also exhibits impressive resilience. Following compression, the material quickly and effectively recovers its shape and thickness. And, it displays impressive shock absorption and cushioning as well – even following multiple compression cycles. 
  • Adhesive Compatibility: Finally, we should note that poron foam is also comparable with different adhesives. It seamlessly bonds with other materials and surfaces, so it can work as a singular part of different product assemblies. 

As expected, all of these mechanical properties can be customized by simply adjusting the material and compositional formation of the material – as well as the manufacturing processes involved in making it. 

Given that you have your pick of the litter when it comes to poron foam grades, there are several grades that can easily be capitalized on. Nevertheless, you can feel free to contact us at Legenday if you’d like more information about our poron foam specifications, their properties, and their usefulness for you.

Thermal Conductivity and Insulation Properties

Moving on, let’s look at some of the significant thermal conductivity and insulation properties you can get from this material. Although the specific values will vary based on the grade and formulation of the poron foam material, you can find a general overview here: 

  • Thermal Conductivity: Poron foam doesn’t conduct heat so well. However, this low thermal conductivity also means that the material can work as a thermal insulator, cutting down the heat transfer between different surface components. 
  • Insulation Properties: With its closed-cell structure, poron foam essentially traps the flow of heat and air, thus optimizing its insulation properties. Every layer of trapper air works as a thermal barrier, slowing down the heat transfer process – either through convection or conduction.
  • Thermal Stability: Poron foam has also made a name for its ability to maintain its thermal properties within a broad range. The material is known for holding its own against both high and low temperatures, witnessing little by way of degradation and maintaining a consistent thermal performance regardless of the environmental conditions.

Thanks to the thermal conductivity and insulation properties of poron foam, the material is perfectly suitable for temperature management applications across multiple industries. From cushioning and insulation to automotive components and even electronic devices, the material is as flexible as you could want. 

Types and Varieties of Poron Foam 

As we explained earlier, poron foam comes in different classifications and variants. The material is as flexible as you’d imagine, offering enough versatility in operation. Really, it depends on what you want. 

Next, we’ll look into some of the prominent types of poron foam and the basis of classifications for the poron foam material, as well as the variants that fall into it: 

Classification Based on Density and Compression Deflection 

You can find poron foam in different classes based on its compression and density. Generally, these classifications will help you to choose the right grade of poron form for your specific application requirements – such as making poron foam shoes and more. 

So, before making a choice, keep in mind to contact your manufacturer or supplier to understand the different variants available. Just as well, most manufacturers tend to have their unique grading systems – so, understanding how each of them grades will be important here.  

Generally, here are the variants available based on density and compression:

  • Low-Density Poron Foam: As the name suggests, this is a class of poron foam that comes with relatively low density. These foam options are light, offering much softer cushioning properties. They work best in applications where optimal conformability and material comfort are most important. 
  • Medium-Density Poron Foam: Ranking smack in the midle tier, these foams provide that sweet balance between material support and cushioning, meaning that they are versatile in application.
  • High-Density Poron Foam: Compared to the abovementioned tiers, these foam options have higher density metrics. They are firmer, offering support and optimal stability for high-impact applications. 
  • Extra High-Density Poron Foam: There is also a tier of poron foam with even higher density than the high-density variant. These foams are more durable and firmer, making them perfect for applications where long-lasting builds and support are needed.
  • Compression Grades: In terms of compression, poron foam is classed using the compression force deflection (CFD) metric. With CFD, you’re able to determine the amount of force needed to compress poron foam to a specific percentage of its initial thickness. 

CFD is a perfect measure of poron foam’s firmness. And, as you can expect, each of these grades will come with their ratings. 

Poron Foam’s Grades & Formulations

This is where things start to get a tad interesting when it comes to classifications. Flexibility is one of the many selling points of this material, and in terms of grades, you get different options with their uses and manufacturing requirements. 

  • Poron XRD®: Arguably the most popular poron foam grade, poron XRD foam offers the highest level of impact dissipation. 
  • Poron V-0: This variant is especially known for its flame-retardant properties, which meet the stringent UL 94 V-0 standards for thermoplastics and other flame-retardant items. Poron V-0 exhibits the highest levels of fire resistance, and it is perfect for applications that require compliance with flammability requirements. 
  • Poron ThinStik™: Next, we have Poron ThinStik™; a very thin grade of the material that is designed for use in applications where you might not have so much space. It offers top-of-the-line cushioning as well as protection for compact designs. 
  • Poron Slow Rebound (SR) Series: With the SR series, you get limited cushioning and a slow pace of material recovery. With this gradual release of energy, the material works especially for making poron foam shoe inserts and orthopedic insoles for shoes and other comfort products. 
  • Poron Medical: As its name suggests, the medical foam grade is especially designed for use in the healthcare and medical space. These foams could even feature antimicrobial properties that reduce the growth of bacteria and optimize hygiene. From poron memory foam insoles to developing prosthetics, this foam grade is also quite versatile. 
  • Poron Filter: The filter grade of the poron cellular polyurethane foam is primarily engineered for filtration capacities. Whether in developing industrial filtration or HVAC systems, these foams are perfect.
  • Poron Industrial: This grade defines poron foam variants that are engineered for use in industrial applications. Manufacturers and industrialists can easily take advantage of poron foam properties such as impact resistance and material sealing.

Open-Cell vs Closed-Cell Poron Foam

Another significant classification that needs to be studied is with cellular structure. Here, we have two major options – open-cell poron foam and closed-cell poron foam. 

For open-cell poron urethane foam, you have a material with voids or cells in its primary structure. These cells are interlinked, making it easy for materials like fluids and gases to seamlessly flow through it.

With the open-cell poron foam, each interconnected cell is able to create a network of pathways, forming a breathable and significantly porous material. 

On the flip side, closed-cell poron foam is a type of the foam that features a structure composed of non-interconnected, totally sealed cells. As such, these foams don’t allow materials to pass through. 

As a comparison, let’s consider the following yardsticks: 

Compression and Recovery:

In general, open-cell poron foam is easily and quickly compressed. Conformability and cushioning for the material is also optimal, with the foam easily conforming and deforming to irregular spaces. 

However, closed-cell poron foam resists compression more, offering additional support and resistance to bottoming out. This means that the material is able to hold on to its shape better – and for longer. 

Water Absorption:

Thanks to its cellular structure, you can imagine that open-cell poron foam will absorb water and other liquids more. If you require moisture resistance, then the material might not be perfect for you. 

This is where closed-cell poron foam comes in. It easily resists liquid access and absorption, holding all of its properties even in the presence of moisture. 

Thermal and Acoustic Insulation:

You would usually get higher levels of acoustic and thermal insulation with open-cell poron foam – another benefit of its interconnected cellular structure, of course. The material easily traps air, thus reducing the speed and efficiency of heat and sound transmission. 

Cleaning and Maintenance:

Due to its propensity for trapping and retaining moisture and possible contaminants, open-cell poron foam is a bit of a challenge to clean and maintain. As expected, closed-cell poron foam doesn’t have to deal with this problem inherently. 

All in all, both options come with their benefits. Open-cell poron foam is especially great with confirmability and cushioning, while closed-cell poron foam provides higher levels of support and durability across the board. 

As long as you understand what you need, you shouldn’t have an issue getting the right variant. 

Poron Foam: Used From Earth To Space

foam insoles

As you would expect from a material with such impressive properties, poron foam’s functionality has spanned across multiple industries.

  • Electronics & Electrical Industry: In this space, poron foam’s functionality is flexible. The material offers cushioning for critical components of different products, and it can also be used in developing electrical enclosures and other components for protection and insulation. We even have poron foam keyboard pads and protective gear, which help to keep computer components safe.
  • Automotive Manufacturing: Automotive manufacturers use poron foam for reducing noise, dampening vibrations, and optimizing cushioning forces. Gaskets and seals made using the material can also be used for sealing and weatherproofing, and we should also remember the material’s functionality for automotive lighting and more. 
  • Aerospace Functions: In the aerospace industry, poron foam is used for impact protection and cushioning. Manufacturers use it to make aircraft interiors, instrument panels, and other components that are used to optimize passenger comfort and protect other sensitive materials. 
  • Healthcare Industry Applications: Thanks to poron foam’s softness and antimicrobial properties, the material can be used to make prosthetics, orthopedic devices, and more. You can also find a poron pad, wound dressings, and other equipment. 
  • Sports and Recreation: The same vibration dampening and impact reduction properties of poron foam make it useful in the sports industry for making protective gear. As we explained earlier, poron foam shoes are also useful in the sports space – and the material can be used to make insoles, sports gear, and other products. 
  • Consumer Goods: Poron foam is used in manufacturing different consumer goods – ranging from toys and appliances to packaging materials and more. Its benefits here include impact protection, vibration dampening, and more – all with the goal of ensuring that these items can last much longer. 
  • Industrial and Manufacturing: For the industrial and manufacturing space, poron foam can be used to make sealants and gaskets that help improve the longevity and functionality of machinery. The material can also help in functions such as noise reduction and temperature management – especially in industrial functions that generate significant amounts of heat.
  • Applications In The Hubble Telescope: One of the most significant achievements of poron foam is its use in developing components of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope is a 43-foot-long observational telescope that operates in low Earth orbit and which remains one of the most functional, versatile space telescopes today. 

With poron, manufacturers of the Hubble have been able to design supplementing brackets, door poron gaskets, and enclosures that help to keep a tight environmental seal. Considering that the Hubble is expected to last until 2040 – or even longer – poron is one of the most prominent materials that help ensure its longevity. 

All in all, poron foam is a truly versatile material with significant functionality across the board. And, with the material still being explored, there is a significant chance that its use will continue to expand.

Why Is Poron Foam So Popular?

Poron foam’s functionality makes it especially popular in different industries. But what exactly helps the material to be so useful? Here are some of poron foam’s most significant benefits:

  • Impact Protection: Poron foam provides impressive cushioning properties, which allow the material to consistently absorb and dissipate energy once it is subjected to impact. This means that it easily protects against vibrations, shocks, etc. 
  • Energy Absorption: Just as it does with impact, poron foam also soaks in and absorbs energy. The material seamlessly takes impact energy and converts it to heat, cutting down on dissipated force and forming a protective ring around sensitive objects. 
  • Flexibility and Conformability: We should also note that poron foam is very flexible. You can shape it into different forms and use it to essentially fit different contours. Regardless of the design and application, the material is suitable.
  • Temperature Stability: Poron foam’s temperature stability is one of its most underrated benefits. Regardless of the temperature range, the material maintains its properties and is stable. This means that even in the most challenging conditions, poron foam is as reliable as possible. 
  • Chemical Resistance: You can also rest assured that poron foam will rest exposure to oils, solvents, and other chemicals. In environments where exposure to these animals is possible, the foam’s resistance ensures that you can maintain the performance and form of its constituent material over time.  
  • Low Outgassing: The material doesn’t release so many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other dangerous gaseous emissions. Considering that the manufacturing industry is currently focusing more on environmental standards, poron foam’s ability to comply with the most stringent of these standards is an underrated benefit.
  • Longevity and Durability: Like we mentioned earlier, poron foam easily lasts long. The material holds on to its properties for lengthy periods, and it doesn’t break down easily over time. 
  • Biocompatibility: With optimal biocompatibility, poron foam is safe for contact with body tissues and human contact. This is the major reason why the material works well for medical and healthcare properties.

Where Poron Foam Might Fall Short

Although poron foam comes with a myriad of benefits, you should note that it’s not all gravy with the material. There are still some challenges with using it – a few of which include: 

  • Moisture Absorption: As we pointed out, the open-cell poron foam variant does absorb moisture due to its cellular structure. So, if your application requires resistance to moisture absorption, choose the closed-cell poron foam instead.
  • Limited Chemical Compatibility: It is also worth noting that some aggressive chemicals or solvents could cause degradation of the foam’s properties if it is exposed to them for long. 
  • Flammability: When exposed to open flames or extremely high temperatures, poron foam can exhibit possible melting characteristics and flammability. To wit, we recommend flame-retardant treatments if low flammability is a requirement.
  • Cost: Considering that it is a specialized material with advanced properties,poron foam can be comparatively more expensive than several of its competitors.
  • Customization Challenges: Although cutting and molding are possible with poron foam, achieving intricate designs will require additional specialized manufacturing processes or tooling – all of which can add to the cost.

These challenges might make it more difficult to work with poron foam. However, they can be overcome in the long run with additional manufacturing steps and a precise formulation process. 

Poron Foam: Does It Beat Out The Competition?

The poron microcellular urethane is undoubtedly one of the most prominent manufacturing materials in the world at the moment. However, as you can imagine, there are several possible alternatives to poron foam  that can be used. 

So, which should you go for if you were given the opportunity? 

Poron Foam vs Neoprene Foam 

neoprene foam

Neoprene foam is arguably the top alternative to poron foam. When comparing poron vs neoprene, you should know that both come with significant similarities and functionalities, but their differences are also considerable: 

Cushioning & Impact Protection: 

In terms of cushioning, both materials are quite impressive. They offer solid protection against impact and shock, making them perfect for protective functionalities. Nevertheless, neoprene foam tends to have a lower cushioning effect compared to poron foam. 

Compression Set Resistance:

Both materials also score quite high when it comes to compression set resistance. Nevertheless, poron foam scores higher as neoprene foam has a higher tendency to experience permanent deformation over time. 

Water and Moisture Resistance:

Like the previous points, poron foam takes the prize here too. With its inherently closed-cell structure, the material resists moisture entry and absorption much better than neoprene foam. 

Thermal Properties:

Thermal insulation on both materials is comparable. However, poron foam comes out ahead when it comes to thermal stability. With neoprene foam having operational limitations at extreme temperatures, it can become stiffer or lose some of its cushioning properties over time. 

Chemical Resistance:

In terms of chemical resistance, both materials are pretty even. They do well to resist different ranges of chemicals and additives – ranging from solvents to oils and more. 

Poron Foam vs Polyurethane Foam 

Moving on, we should also look into the comparison between poron foam and polyurethane foam; another material whose use has been especially linked to the former.

Cushioning and Impact Protection:

In terms of cushioning, poron foam leads the pack. However, you should note that polyurethane’s cushioning properties can vary based on the specific density and formulation of the material. 

Compression Set Resistance:

While poron foam does better on this front as well, it should be noted that polyurethane’s compression set resistance will also depend on its formulation. 

Water and Moisture Resistance:

In its most natural form, poron foam is closed-cell; a structure that allows for effective water entry prevention. On the flip side, polyurethane foam is flexible. It can come in open and closed-cell structures, with the latter offering better water resistance than closed-cell poron foam. 

Thermal Properties:

Depending on the formulation, polyurethane foam can also exhibit varying thermal properties across the board. 

Flexibility and Conformability:

In terms of flexibility, both materials also come in even. They are both highly flexible and can be conformed into different shapes, making them perfect for different manufacturing processes.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Poron Foam

Poron foam is a highly functional material that easily delivers optimal bang for your buck. However, as you make use of the material, understanding how to keep it in top shape and form will be critical to your mission of making the most out of it. 

To that end, keep the following tips in mind:

Cleaning and Sterilization Guidelines 

To begin with, it is important to understand how best to clean poron foam. This should be done regularly to take out any impurities and protect the material’s integrity: 

  • Before cleaning your poron foam, you want to take out any loose debris or particles from it 
  • Then, dip a soft cloth or sponge in a soap solution and gently squeeze out any liquid
  • Blot or dab the cloth on the soiled areas of the poron foam, and avoid rubbing it too vigorously 
  • After cleaning, keep the foam in a well-ventilated area and allow it to dry naturally. You should avoid using excess heat sources as it could damage the foam.

Storage and Handling Precautions 

neoprene foam

In terms of storage, you want to keep a few things in mind when it comes to poron foam:

  • The material should be kept in a dry, clean, and properly ventilated area. Avoid locations prone to high humidity and direct sunlight.
  • Poron foam should also be kept away from sharp objects and rough surfaces. 
  • If poron foam is supplied in sheets or rolls, keep them in a flat position or roll them tightly to avoid creasing.

As for handling, these guidelines should help you: 

  • Always handle the material with clean hands – or wear gloves. This helps you to avoid transferring dirt or other contaminants to its surface. 
  • Only use gentle handling techniques so as to cut down on unnecessary compression or foam deformation. 
  • Also, avoid excessive folding, bending, or stretching of the foam.

Factors Affecting Poron Foam’s Lifespan

Finally, remember some of these factors as they could determine how long you’re able to use your poron foam: 

  • Compression and load bearing 
  • Compatibility with other materials
  • Frequency and usage 
  • Maintenance and care
  • Efficiency of the manufacturing process 

Conclusion

Poron foam has solidified itself as one of the most viable and reliable manufacturing materials in the market at the moment. With functionalities from Earth to literal space, the material’s unique properties make it an advantage to just about any industry. 

If you’re looking to get your hands on poron foam, feel free to reach out to us at Legenday. With us, you can rest assured of the highest material quality – as well as access to any insights you might need on making the best choice.

FAQs

Is poron foam durable? 

Poron foam exhibits impressive durability across the board. The material is firm, and you can count on it to last very long. 

How does poron foam handle compression?

With impressive compression set resistance, poron foam easily holds its own when compressed.

Does poron foam resist flame? 

Yea, poron foam also resists flame. While this capability varies based on the grade of the material, you can count on it to optimize flame resistance very well. 

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