How Mattress Foam Is Made

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How Is Memory Foam Made?

Memory Foam Developed by NASA

The very first memory foam material was developed by NASA in the 1970s. Their intention was to try to improve seat cushioning and crash protection for airline pilots and passengers. Memory foam has widespread commercial applications, in addition to the popular mattresses and pillows you are familiar with today.

Anybody who has gone shopping for a bed, a new pillow, or even a new bicycle seat or mouse pad wrist rest in the last two decades will have encountered memory foam. This new material has been applied to a huge range of uses since its introduction to the US in 1991—from revolutionary medical uses to gimmicky new product designs. But what is it, who came up with it, and how does it work?

Though it is a relatively recent phenomenon in the US, memory foam has been around in various forms since the midpoint of the century—the first work on the polyurethane polymers that go into memory foam was actually begun in 1937 by Otto Bayer and his coworkers In 1965 the nursing staff at Lankenau Hospital tested “inert polyurethane porous foam” pads for use as bedding material, and found that they prevented “decubitus ulcers” (also known as pressure ulcers, sustained by patients who spend long amounts of time lying down), and found them to be hypoallergenic and resistant to bacteria (Kraus 1965). In the 1960s, NASA did work on materials that would serve as better cushions, and would also keep astronauts comfortable and protected from the extreme g-forces of lift off. It was then that memory foam as we know it came into being.

Memory Foam vs. Polyurethane Foam

Memory foam starts its life as polyurethane foam—a material first manufactured in the 1950s by adding water, halocarbons, or hydrocarbons to a polyurethane mix. Depending on the chemicals added and the way it is processed, polyurethane can form anything from car parts to spray liner, or in this case, one of the most comfortable sleeping surfaces the world has ever seen.

In the modern production of memory foam, a polyol is mixed with a diisocyanate and water. The foam rises like bread, with an open cell structure that helps give it its unique ability to spring back slowly from pressure. The introduction of gases into the initial solution creates a bubble matrix; vary the application of chemicals, and the size of the bubbles changes. A more open cell structure will have more give, and allow more airflow through the material.

Memory Foam Firmness

The firmness of memory foam is rated by the IFD (Indention Force Deflection), also known as ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) measuring the force in pounds required to make a 25% indentation in a 4 inch thick foam square. Also important in measuring the “softness” of a foam is the density. Foam densities range from 1-7 lbs, but a good-quality foam will usually be at least 4 and usually 5 lbs. A foam with a high density, but low ILD may still feel firm when compressed, especially in a lower room temperature. The density together with the IFD/ILD and the resilience will determine the softness, firmness, and life-span of the foam. Foam that is lower density will more readily conform to pressure, whereas higher density foam (usually 5-lb. or above) molds itself to contours when warmed by body heat.

Major production of memory foam did not begin until NASA released it into the public domain in the 1980s.Fagerdala World Foamstook up the challenge of producing this somewhat difficult product, and in 1991 produced the “Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress.” Today numerous companies around the world produce visco-elastic memory foam, which gives consumers increased variety and price range. Unfortunately, it also increases the risk of purchasing cheaply-made foams that may deteriorate over time. Not all memory foam is made equal, as many of the overseas manufacturers work at reducing the cost of memory foam by adding in other “filler” type ingredients that reduce the quality and potentially add toxicity to the formulation. The real problem with overseas foam is the lack of quality standards that have been created in the United States.

How Mattresses Are Made

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Mattress construction from the inside-out

If reading about mattress construction sounds like a real, ahem, snooze, know this: The way a mattress is made determines how it feels. And how a mattress feels may be the difference between a fitful night and peaceful slumber!

The Big Picture

Two basic types of mattress make up the vast majority of the market: They’re called innerspring and memory foam. Made of steel coils, innerspring is, by far, the most common type. Memory foam, on the other hand, is made from polyurethane or latex foam, and is very dense foam. Memory foam is usually more expensive than innerspring.

Inside an Innerspring Mattress

Coils determine how much support (suspension versus springiness) the mattress will give. Manufacturers may use different types of coil shapes and structures, as well as different amounts of spacing and patterns to affect comfort. The next layer, top padding, isusually made from polyurethane foam. The outer layer (or ticking) is the material bound to the top padding with stitching. The way that ticking and top padding are attached influences the mattress’s overall feel. Large, wide patterns will create a cushioned feel, which smaller patterns feel tighter and firmer. Generally, the more coils an innerspring mattress contains, the more comfortable it’s bound to be—but if the number of coils is over 390, then you’re not likely to notice the difference, so don’t bother paying extra.

Inside a Memory Foam Mattress

Especially attractive to people with chronic pain conditions, memory foam mattresses consist of, essentially, very dense foam. When you lie on a foam mattress, your body heat softens the material, allowing it to “mold” to your body. One big advantage: In bigger beds, a memory foam mattress won’t shift as much as an innerspring when one partner turns or moves. So if you’re often disturbed by your partner’s tossing and turning in the middle of the night, it might be time to invest in a memory foam mattress. But one con: Because these mattresses mold to your body, they can absorb a lot of heat and make you feel hotter while you sleep. Some people also complain that they have a chemical smell.

How Mattresses Are Made

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Mattress construction from the inside-out

If reading about mattress construction sounds like a real, ahem, snooze, know this: The way a mattress is made determines how it feels. And how a mattress feels may be the difference between a fitful night and peaceful slumber!

The Big Picture

Two basic types of mattress make up the vast majority of the market: They’re called innerspring and memory foam. Made of steel coils, innerspring is, by far, the most common type. Memory foam, on the other hand, is made from polyurethane or latex foam, and is very dense foam. Memory foam is usually more expensive than innerspring.

Inside an Innerspring Mattress

Coils determine how much support (suspension versus springiness) the mattress will give. Manufacturers may use different types of coil shapes and structures, as well as different amounts of spacing and patterns to affect comfort. The next layer, top padding, isusually made from polyurethane foam. The outer layer (or ticking) is the material bound to the top padding with stitching. The way that ticking and top padding are attached influences the mattress’s overall feel. Large, wide patterns will create a cushioned feel, which smaller patterns feel tighter and firmer. Generally, the more coils an innerspring mattress contains, the more comfortable it’s bound to be—but if the number of coils is over 390, then you’re not likely to notice the difference, so don’t bother paying extra.

Inside a Memory Foam Mattress

Especially attractive to people with chronic pain conditions, memory foam mattresses consist of, essentially, very dense foam. When you lie on a foam mattress, your body heat softens the material, allowing it to “mold” to your body. One big advantage: In bigger beds, a memory foam mattress won’t shift as much as an innerspring when one partner turns or moves. So if you’re often disturbed by your partner’s tossing and turning in the middle of the night, it might be time to invest in a memory foam mattress. But one con: Because these mattresses mold to your body, they can absorb a lot of heat and make you feel hotter while you sleep. Some people also complain that they have a chemical smell.

How is a Latex Mattress Made?

February 28, 2018

There has been a growing focus on healthy living over the past few years. Consumers have made it known, that they want to sleep on mattresses that are made using natural materials, to support their new, healthy lifestyle.

Why a Latex Mattress?

It’s simple. An Eco Terra mattress is made using natural and safe materials. Therefore, they offer safe sleeping surfaces. It’s true that we spend approximately one-third of our lives sleeping in our beds. Everyone deserves to spend this one-third of their lives sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t contain toxins. Our latex mattress is toxin free and the healthiest mattress you can sleep on. Also, our latex mattresses are made with natural and quality materials, so they last longer than other mattresses made today.

Eco Terra Latex Mattress

The Eco Terra mattress is a popular mattress that comes with an impressive 15-year warranty. Impressive because most mattresses are expected to only last an average of seven years, with a warranty to match.

The Eco Terra mattress also offers sleepers:

  • Superior posture support due to eliminated negative space (which is recommended when it comes to properly aligning the spine).
  • A cooler sleeping service due to its breathability (which means it disperses the body’s heat when sleeping).
  • The ability to not disturb their partner when moving while sleeping due to advances in minimized motion transfer.
  • Edge to edge comfort from the quantum coil reinforcement design, which means you’ll sleep just as comfortably when in the middle of the bed as you will when you’re on the edge of the bed.

Where do Latex Mattresses Come From?

Rubber trees. The material used to make a latex foam mattress is harvested from rubber trees, which for the most part grow on sustainable plantations. Eco Terra gets their latex from rubber trees grown in Sri Lanka, as the majority of rubber tree plantations are located in the Southeast Asia area. The environment in Southeast Asia fully supports rubber tree growth, and many people agree that the more trees planted, the better. Trees are extremely beneficial to the environment, and as more and more people buy latex foam natural mattresses there will only continue to be more trees planted.

How are Latex Beds Made?

Our Eco Terra mattresses are made using environmentally-friendly mattress-making methods, which is another reason why latex mattresses are so popular nowadays. A special method is used to extract the white liquid sap from the tree, while at the same time providing no damage to the tree in any way. In order to extract the white sap, a small cut is made on the tree to remove the bark that will cause the sap to begin to flow out of the tree; it can take up to 6 hours for the sap to stop flowing. Buckets are placed under the flowing sap for transport.

The fact that rubber trees can be used for more than 25 years for this purpose is quite remarkable!

Talalay vs. Dunlop

So how does the liquid sap that coming out of a rubber tree create a healthy mattress? There are two main methods used to produce a latex natural mattress – the Dunlop Method and the Talalay Method. Each method has its own way of processing and one is not necessarily better than the other one. It’s simply a matter of mattress preference.

  • The Dunlop Methodis the original all-natural mattress making method that has been used since 1929, and it tends to create a firmer texture, which is typically used as a mattress core in 100% natural latex mattresses. This method requires the sap to be mixed until it turns into a foam, which is then shaped by putting it into a specially made mold, then into a hot oven to create the all-natural latex mattress. The mattress is then thoroughly cleaned and dried. This particular mattress-making method allows the entire mattress to be made at one time.
  • The Talalay Methoduses a process that produces a latex bed with a little bit of a different texture, which tends to make it softer than the Dunlop Method. It is typically used as the top comfort layer in mattresses. Instead of mixing the sap into a foam, it is put into a specially made mold which is closed tight. Suction is then used to make sure the sap is evenly distributed. The next step requires the mold to be frozen and then quickly heated, which causes the sap to become solid.

Because the Eco Terra mattress has a supportive base of fabric-encased coils, the top layer is made of the softer, airier Talalay latex for supreme cushioned comfort.

Eco Terra Mattress = The Preferred Mattress Choice

So now you know why a mattress made with natural latex is quickly becoming the preferred mattress choice among mattress buyers. The healthy living movement is here to stay and more and more people are looking to buy a safe mattress to sleep on. This allows them to create the safe sleeping environment which they not only deserve, but need, for their overall good health.

High-quality, latex foam mattresses receive the highest overall owner satisfaction ratings.

How Latex and Memory Foam Mattresses Are Made

There are a couple of reasons why you might be interested to read what I have on this section of my website. The first is that you have a natural curiosity about how the products you buy are made, and considering you’ll be spending up to one third of your life on a mattress, I can’t blame you for wanting to know.

The second reason might be because you’re concerned over how eco-friendly a mattress is, and again, I can’t blame you. After all, we’re constantly told how we should treat our planet better and the dangers that certain materials can pose to our health.

So, no matter what the reason I thought it would be a good idea to let you know how latex and foam mattresses are made. Of course, if you’re familiar with latex you may think this is the most natural substance a mattress can be made from, and you would be right since the raw material is drawn directly from the rubber tree.

However, if you are erring on the side of a latex mattress do be careful of the actual amount it contains because manufacturers use three different forms: 100% natural, 85% natural and 15% synthetic and finally 20% natural and 80% synthetic. Of course, the more natural a latex mattress is the more expensive it will be.

In respect of memory foam mattresses, the materials used are synthetic and this is one of the reasons why I come across so many complaints about the “outgas” odor many of them give off when they’re brand new. Whilst this can be a little worrying, if you’re careful to look for the CertiPUR-US certificate this will guarantee that your mattress is gentle on the environment and isn’t bad for your health.

If you’re interested in finding out about the whole process, why not have a little peek at the short video I have included below?

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