A memory foam mattress also called “visco-elastic” polyurethane foam, or low-resilience polyurethane foam is made up of polyurethane which is a kind of chemical used in manufacturing flexible, high-resilience foam seating, rigid foam insulation panels and even microcellular foam seals and gaskets with additional chemicals increasing its viscosity and density. High-density memory foam has softening effect that reacts to body heat which allows it to mold into a warm body in just a matter of minutes. On the other hand, Lower-density memory foam is sensitive to pressure and quickly molds to the shape of a body pressing against it which will then return to its original shape once the pressure is released. The speed that will take in which the foam will return to its original shape after the pressure is released is conveyed by many memory foam bedding producers as a marketing message to newer generations.
Where Did Memory Foam Originate?
In 1966, Memory Foam was made to improve the safety of cushions in aircrafts which was made possible under a contract by NASA’s Ames Research Center. Chiharu Kubokawa, Ames scientist and Charles A. Yost of the Stencel Aero Engineering Corporation were the ones responsible and major contributors to this project. Made through a process by feeding gas into a polymer matrix, it has an open-cell solid structure that can match the pressure against it, and then it slowly springs back to its original shape. Yost called it “temper foam” which is the memory cushion sensitive to temperature that was initially called “slow spring back foam”.
This type of bedding is denser than other usual mattresses which it heavier but more supportive. It is a good compromise in terms of comfort between a soft mattress and a firm mattress. Because of this, it often sells more than the traditional kinds of mattresses.
In terms of its properties in firmness which is the balance from hard to soft, the mattress is measured using an indentation force deflection (IFD) rating on the foam. Though it can help to know the value of firmness, it does not show an accurate measurement of how soft or firm the foam is. The one with a higher IFD rating has a lower density that feels soft when pressure is applied. The opposite goes for the one with a lower IFD rating.
Importance of These Styles
It is significantly important that the amount of memory foam be in check and in the right level. A 6-inch block is too soft and heavily dense which is not comfortable to sleep on. On the other hand, if it is less than 2 inches, there are no significant effects. Therefore, every mattress must be processed accordingly so that its properties would differ from others in terms of height, density, and type all in good balance.
When something is new, there are some memory foams that give off a distinct chemical odor that many people will find very unpleasant and resembles to the smell of paint. The odor remains very sensitive and strong though it sometimes decreases when aired. The emissions from these mattresses may cause respiratory problems compared to other forms of mattresses. On the contrary to the unpleasing problem, house dust mites and mildew does not occur. Therefore, asthma attacks will occur less frequently or may not even occur.
Like other polyurethane products, memory foam is combustible. Therefore, manufacturers have been ordered by State and Federal Laws to make them resistant and prevent ignition from any open flame source. Caution should also be implemented about leaving small children especially babies unattended on a memory foam mattress because it is more difficult for them to turn and may suffocate in the process.