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Choosing between Open Cell and Closed Cell Foams

Open Cell Foam
May 18, 2020

A Note on COVID-19

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Foam is one of the most common materials used in the fabrication of custom gaskets and seals. Since it is available in a wide range of sizes and densities, foam is the right solution for a wide variety of end applications.

However, the wide variety of foam material available can make it difficult to decide which foam to use. The key is to have a comprehensive understanding of the properties the end application requires. Here are the two primary factors the PGC team considers when deciding which type of foam to use.

End Application’s Sensitivity to Movement

Many parts that require a foam seal are sensitive to movement, from aggressive shaking to minute changes to calibration. Foams can provide protection against all types of movement that may harm parts in their end applications.

For parts that are subjected to rigorous vibration, open cell foam may be a good solution. Open cell foam absorbs soundwaves and kinetic energy, which is helpful in vibration damping. It is available in a variety of thicknesses to accommodate a range of intensities.

In other applications, the movement of components must stay consistent In these applications, closed cell foam is a good option. Closed cell foam has a high density and holds up well to compression, allowing movement to be evenly distributed across the surface area of the foam These properties make it an ideal choice as a seal within components that may be harmed by movement and changes to calibration.

End Application’s Environment

The environment of the end application is another important factor to consider when choosing between open cell and closed cell foam. Open cell foam has an open structure that allows air to pass through the foam. This provides breathability, an advantage for parts that are sensitive to dust, mildew, and mold.

But other parts require a seal against the elements. In these cases, closed cell foam may be a better choice. Its dense structure does not allow air and water to pass through the foam, but provides a rigid structure that withstands compression, making it ideal for parts that require a tight seal.

Sound absorption is another environmental factor. Electronics, power equipment, and other devices produce high-frequency sounds that make working with the equipment uncomfortable or unsafe. Open cell foam is a good choice for these applications. Its open structure absorbs high-frequency soundwaves, deadening the amplitude of sound.

The PGC team can help design teams determine the right foam for their end application. To learn more, contact the PGC team today