What is reticulated foam?
Reticulated foam has a net-like structure and is a type of foam that is known for being quick-drying and lightweight. It lets liquid pass freely through it. Whereas other types of polyurethane foam typically hold water-very much like a sponge-reticulated foam is mesh-like and therefore holds very little. It is open-celled and looks more like a mesh than a ‘conventional’ sponge-like foam.
Many suppliers and manufacturers sell the product as reticulated foam sheets, reticulated foam blocks, or as reticulated foam cut to size.
What is reticulated foam made of?
Reticulated foam is a specialist type of foam that is polyether-based. It is produced in the same way as standard polyurethane foam, which is a closed-cell foam. These closed cells are then opened up; the tops of the cells are broken to create an open-celled foam. Suppliers and manufacturers of reticulated foam open these cells by filling standard polyurethane foam with a gas that can burn, like hydrogen, and setting it on fire in a controlled environment.
Types of reticulated foam
There are two main types of reticulated polyurethane foam: reticulated polyester and reticulated polyether. The polyester variant has a 3D-like structure that is flexible and uniform. It has a lot of closed “window” cells, and the open cells that are still there work to reflect light. These are known as controlled cells, making reticulated polyester foam great for filtration. It is also easily compressed to create sheets of a particular thickness.
On the other hand, reticulated polyester foam is much more flexible and-typically-more affordable. This type of foam has larger open cells in comparison, making it great for use in wet applications. Its structure allows for both air and moisture to move through it. It’s incredibly viscous and has a high resistance to moisture over a long period of time.
Applications of reticulated foam
Reticulated foam has many uses because it is cheap, strong, light, resistant to chemicals, and kills bacteria. The most common application of reticulated foam is in filtration due to its open-celled structure. A reticulated foam filter is commonly used in air compressors, dust bags, electrical equipment, and more. It is also popular for many types of fluid management.
This foam is also very good at absorbing sound, so it is used for noise control and acoustics. It can absorb sound waves well and is typically used to control noise from big machinery and transportation like planes, to smaller home equipment like microwaves.
Most of us use reticulated foam frequently in the home; it is a popular choice for many cleaning sponges and pads.
Why is reticulated foam best for outdoor cushions?
Many people say that reticulated foam is the best choice for outdoor cushions, since they are exposed to the elements. Its open-celled structure means that rainwater can drain from a cushion very quickly and air can promptly circulate through the foam for it to dry. Therefore, it is very unlikely that mould and mildew will grow.
Reticulated foam is also treated with an antibacterial agent so that it will last longer even if it is kept outside. This type of foam is also known to retain its shape and density very well, meaning that it will still be incredibly comfortable and look great despite being faced with wind, rain, snow, and outdoor dust.