Education

Polyurethane versus polyethylene foam. What is the difference?

There is a lot of confusion between polyurethane and polyethylene foam when it comes to their different foam types. Both of these foam types are used for packaging purposes. However, the product packaged using each of these foam types is different. Therefore, understanding the difference between these foams is crucial. If you are looking to buy PU foam, check out PU foam Malaysia.

Polyethylene or pe foam

Polyethylene foam is a closed-cell foam. The polymer molecules are the first cross-linked, which provides more rigidity to this structure. Therefore, this foam is most often referred to as cross-linked polyethylene or cross link foam. The cross-linked nature of this product allows it to be extremely elastic and have a high rebound capacity. Therefore, it offers shock absorption properties and adds a slight bounce. This foam can be considered a shock-repelling foam because it does not distribute the fall energy broadly.

Most often, polyethylene foam is used in gymnastic items that are thin [1 to 2 inches] and thus must be firm. Polyethylene foam provides fall protection and a light cushion while still allowing for firm footing when a person lands on it. This foam is most often used in applications where gymnasts land on their hands or feet. This foam helps them avoid twisting their wrists or ankles. This type of foam is most often seen in gymnastic flooring, folding maths, martial arts flooring, Flexi rolls, et cetera. Check out PE foam Malaysia for all your PE foam needs.

Polyurethane foam

Polyurethane or PU foam is an open-cell type foam that is softer than PE foam. This is made with varying firmness degrees depending on the needs and requirements. Since the cells are not cross-linked but open, the air can easily flow through the foam like water flowing through the sponge. This is the reason this foam is softer and better at shock absorption. This foam style does not rebound as fast as polyethylene. It also broadly distributes the compression energy.

Polyurethane foam is most often used in products where more crash protection is needed. Therefore, thicker versions of this foam are used. The primary role of this foam is to protect you if you will be landing on your body instead of on your hands and feet. Common locations where this type of foam is used are stunt maths, landing, inclines, and any other region where protection from injury due to fall needs to be provided.

Measuring polyurethane firmness

When you are checking polyurethane and polyethylene, you must check the firmness, not the density. Most often, people think that firmness and density are the same. However, that is untrue. Density will tell you the weight of the item per unit volume. However, this does not necessarily indicate whether the material is firm or not. When you are looking at polyurethane and polyethylene foam, you are interested in the firmness, which would let you know how firm the foam would feel if someone steps or falls on it.