Close up of cold foam

What is cold foam?

What is cold foam? Production, application and advantages at a glance

Cold foam is a high-quality foam that consists of isocyanate and polypol, among other things. Polyurethane (PUR for short) is produced from these two plastics. Depending on the manufacturing process, a hard, brittle material or a soft, elastic material is produced. This elastic material is foamed by adding blowing agents or environmentally friendly substitutes. This creates cold foam, which is then poured into the desired shape to cure and further processed. Unlike other foams, even low temperatures are sufficient for cold foam production.

Due to the cold foam production and the specific process, this foam has a closed structure for the most part. The special cold foam structure prevents moisture from penetrating the material during curing. The difference between cold foam and other foams (hot foam) is the significantly higher compression hardness in which cold foam is produced.

For effective cold foam use, the foam must be breathable. The necessary open-poredness is achieved by rolling the material after it has hardened. This causes the cells to burst open and form an open-pored structure. Now the cold foam can be used for various purposes. The cold foam is mostly used for car and furniture upholstery, but is also used as a component of shoe soles and of course for the well-known cold foam mattress.

Is cold foam safe?

For a long time, cold foam mattresses had a bad reputation, and rightly so. They were considered cheap goods with poor durability. This has changed in recent years due to new developments. Their qualities and properties depend on the volume weight (RG), the compression hardness, the type of production and the incorporated profiles.

The density is the weight per unit of space of the foamed raw mass, usually as kilograms of raw mass per cubic metre of foam before it is further processed. The lighter the foam, the more material has been saved and the shorter the life of the mattress.

Compression hardness is the pressure that must be applied to compress a foam tube block by 40 %. The lower the compression hardness (in kPa), the softer the foam.

Since the ban on ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), carbon dioxide has been used as a foaming agent in most industrialised countries. In the case of cold foam cores, blowing agents are often dispensed with; foaming takes place when the chemical base substance is polymerised in the presence of water.

What makes a cold foam mattress?

A cold foam mattress is very breathable and moisture-regulating. Therefore, they provide a pleasant sleeping climate and good heat insulation. The high compression hardness of cold foam also ensures that the mattress adapts optimally to the body and returns to its original shape immediately after stress. In addition, cold foam only yields where it is actually loaded. This property is called point elasticity and ensures that the body is optimally supported exactly where it is needed during sleep.

Through various incisions and profiling, the cold foam mattress can be produced with different zones that react differently to loads. This ensures optimal adaptation of the mattress to the body, so that the spine is properly supported. So nothing stands in the way of a restful, healthy sleep.

Mattresses made of cold foam have the property of softening over time at the points of stress, i.e. of reducing the compression hardness at these points. Cold foam is therefore often used for the production of 7-zone mattresses, as a sinking of the body in the more stressed areas of the mattress (shoulders and buttocks) leads to an orthopaedically healthier posture when sleeping. Unlike normal (hot-foamed) comfort and standard foams, cold foams do not tend to form hollows.

Cold foam advantages

  • Very good adaptability to body contours and slatted frames
  • Absolute silence
  • Excellent point elasticity
  • Very good suspension and recovery behaviour when changing position
  • with appropriate care, low susceptibility to mite infestation
  • Can be folded or rolled for transport
  • Long life (depending on the density)
  • Very good thermal insulation, noticeably better than spring mattresses
  • Due to the (mostly) removable and washable mattress cover very good hygienic conditions when sleeping.

Cold foam disadvantages

  • The often pungent odour caused by chemical processes sometimes only disappears after some airing.
  • Due to the very good heat insulation, cold foam mattresses are usually unsuitable for people who sweat easily. This problem only occurs after switching from well-ventilated mattress types (such as spring mattresses) to a cold foam mattress.