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Common Applications for Open Cell Foam

Open Cell Foam
February 26, 2020

Sound, vibration and shock absorption are top concerns of product developers in many industries where noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) must be controlled.    Excess sound, vibration, and bumps will compromise sensitive equipment. Open cell foam can solve many sound and shock absorption challenges by absorbing energy in the cell structure. Here is a look at how PGC uses this versatile material to absorb and control unwanted sound and vibration in machine assemblies and as product packaging for sensitive equipment.

Advantages of Open Cell Foam

Open cell foam offers relatively low compression-force deflection and allows air to pass through the foam. Open cell foam materials are lighter and softer than closed cell foam.  Open cell foam is available in a variety of thicknesses to suit a wide range of applications, from sheet metal vibration damping to compressed air exhaust noise absorption. For PGC customers, however, we most often provide open cell foam for testing in sound absorption and packaging applications for delicate or sensitive products.

Open Cell Foam for Sound Absorption

Open cell foam allows air—and soundwaves—to pass into the cells of the material.  This movement allows the open cells of the foam to capture and absorb soundwave energy, especially the high-frequency waves.  Since soundwaves do not reflect well off open cell foam, the result is energy absorption and a reduction in the amplitude of sound.

Open cell foam is a good choice of material for reducing high-frequency soundwaves. It is an economical choice for many end applications where vibration and sound absorption is important for worker or user comfort, including electronics and power equipment.

Open Cell Foam for Packaging

Open cell foam is often the ideal packaging material for delicate or sensitive products. Its low density offers maximum cushion and shock absorption, while its open structure allows for breathability. This is especially important for products that are sensitive to mildew and dust. Open cell foam allows air to flow through its structure, preventing mildew and mold growth, while its open structure captures dust and other contaminants that could harm sensitive equipment.

These properties make open cell foam an excellent packaging choice for equipment with complex parts that are calibrated to tight tolerances, provided the foam has compatibility with the environment, such as temperature, chemicals, and physical loads, for example. This may include medical instruments, lab equipment, parts for aircraft and spacecraft, and weapons.

While open cell foam has many end applications, PGC most often supplies the material for its sound absorption and shock absorption properties. To learn if open cell foam may be the right material for your application, contact the PGC team today.