Flexible foam testing is an important process to determine the quality and performance of foam materials. By subjecting flexible foams to rigorous testing procedures, you can assess various properties such as IFD, or foam hardness, compression strength, resilience, and durability.

The flexibility and durability of foam materials can be assessed through various tests such as compression testing, tensile testing, tear strength testing, and more. A specialized flexible foam test machine is needed to ensure that these tests are conducted with precision and consistency.

Our team of foam testing experts is dedicated to helping you find the right solution that meets your specific requirements.

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What Is Flexible Foam?

From the plush cushioning in our furniture to the supportive padding in our car seats, flexible foam plays an invisible but crucial role in our everyday comfort. Rigorous testing of these foams is essential to guarantee they meet standards for comfort, safety, and durability, ensuring the products we rely on provide long-lasting performance.

Some examples of flexible foam products that are tested include:

  • Upholstery Cushions
  • Mattress Padding
  • Running Shoes
  • Car Seats
  • Headrests and Armrests
  • Building Insulation

Flexible foam is soft, pliable, and can easily be compressed and deformed. There are two primary types of flexible foam, which are:

  • Polyurethane Foam is the most common type of flexible foam. It's versatile and used in a massive array of products. From cushioning in furniture and mattresses to insulation in buildings, this foam is a go-to choice for many applications.
  • Memory Foam is a viscoelastic polyurethane foam that can conform to the shape of your body and distribute pressure evenly. It's used in mattresses, pillows, and chair cushions.

Flexible Foam Test Methods Following ASTM D3574

ASTM D3574 Live Test Screen

ASTM D3574 is by far the most commonly followed standard when it comes to testing flexible foam materials. ASTM D3574 provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating the physical properties of flexible foams, including IFD, compression strength, resilience, and more.

By adhering to ASTM D3574 guidelines, you can accurately assess the performance characteristics of your foam products and make informed decisions about product development and quality control. These test methods help ensure consistency in testing procedures across different laboratories, facilitating reliable comparisons between products.

Methods B1 & B2: Measures Indentation Force Deflection (IFD)

Methods B1 and B2 are used to determine the force needed to compress a standard-sized foam sample by 25%. IFD is an industry standard test for gauging firmness in foams. A higher IFD value means a firmer foam. IFD tests measure the firmness of the foam.

Caution: Memory foam's viscoelastic nature makes the traditional IFD test less useful with that material. Memory foam doesn't bounce back quickly and the test procedure is relatively slow, so repeated compressions in quick succession don't reflect its true IFD behavior. Consider slower indentation cycles to allow a partial recovery.

Method C: Measures Compression Force Deflection (CFD)

Method C is used to determine how much force is required to compress a foam sample. A CFD value of 25% indicates the amount of force needed to compress the foam to 75% of its original height.

Method E: Measures Tensile Strength

Method E measures the force required to break a foam test sample when pulled apart. The tensile test indicates how well the foam resists tearing and stretching. The report includes elongation data to determine the amount a foam sample can stretch before breaking.

Method F: Measures Tear Strength

Method F tests are used to evaluate the resistance of a foam to tearing or ripping.

Methods I3 and I5: Measures Fatigue Strength

Methods I3 and I5 are used to establish an understanding of a foam's compression strength over time with repeated stress cycles.

Method N: Measures Hysteresis Loss

Method N measures the energy loss during compression recovery cycles. Lower hysteresis indicates efficiency in absorbing and releasing energy.

Learn more about ASTM D3574

How Do You Perform a Test on Flexible Foam?

The specific equipment needed for testing foam depends on your application. However, the most common equipment used to test flexible foam is a universal test machine that is configured for your specific foam test. Universal test machines are extremely versatile and can perform various tests on foam and other materials by simply switching out different grips and fixtures.

An investment in a foam testing machine is an investment in your product. It's not just about making foam and foam products - it's about making sure that every piece of foam meets your standards of performance and reliability.

Get a Complete Test System for Your Test Application

Completing your material test system is easy. Simply start by choosing a test machine, choose your accessories, and select your controller software. We are your one-stop shop for all your application testing needs.

Let us help you choose the right machine for your specific application.

Flexible Foam Test Machines

Universal test machines specifically configured for testing flexible foam

Our specialized foam tester product line was designed to deliver low cost and high performance as needed by the application. Ideal for component testing and testing flexible foam materials from automotive cushioning materials to pillows and mattresses!

These are some of the most common foam testing machines:

Choose from a wide variety of test machines for all your foam testing applications. Each machine is configured to match your application requirements.

Newton Test Controller

From simplified test setups to an intuitive controller software interface and pre-configured methods for industry standards - this innovative technology ensures that your test application are conducted seamlessly and with precision.

Accurate & Repeatable Test Results

  • Simple test setup, operation, and reporting
  • Flexible and scalable software packages - Get what you need now with room to grow!
  • Prebuilt test methods for many of the most common application-specific testing standards
Software Reports
Newton Software

High-performance and easy-to-use controller with logical workflow design

With an intuitive interface, Newton makes it easy for users to navigate through various options and settings, ultimately enhancing the overall user experience. By streamlining complex procedures into user-friendly steps, this software serves both experienced test engineers and beginners alike to conduct tests with confidence and accuracy.

Due to the massive selection of products that we offer, it can be difficult to narrow down what you need. Let us help you select and configure based on your testing application.

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Flexible Foam Testing Accessories

Some of the common flexible foam test fixtures are listed below and organized by test types. This will help you find the fixture that meets your application.

Talk to one of our Engineers to help you navigate the vast selection of testing accessories to find the perfect fit for your testing application.

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Industry Standards for Flexible Foam

While the most common industry standard for testing flexible foam is ASTM D3574, there are many other industry standards available for use.

  • ASTM D3574 Flexible Cellular Urethane Foam (Most Common)
  • ASTM F1566 Mattress Test Methods
  • ISO 2439 Indentation Hardness of Flexible Cellular Plastic Foam
  • ISO 1798 Tensile Strength of Flexible Cellular Polymeric Material Foam
  • ISO 3385 Flexible Cellular Foam Fatigue Constant-Load Pounding
  • And more

Flexible Foam Testing Standards by Standards Organization:

If you have a specific standard that you will be using, please refer to this table to find and learn more about the products we recommend for that particular standard.

Flexible Foam Testing Applications & Articles

Flexible foam tests help evaluate the suitability of flexible foams for specific applications, ensuring that they meet industry standards and customer expectations. From furniture to automotive interiors, flexible foam testing plays an important part in delivering products that are comfortable, safe, and long-lasting.

Want to learn more about flexible foam applications and the equipment required? Check out these related articles: