Reticulated foam, also known as skeletal foam or filter foam, is used in a wide variety of applications and most people have seen it in one form or another. It is a light weight foam with completely open cells. Each cell has a dodecahedron (12 sided) shape. The foam is 97% void making it’s skeletal structure ideal for trapping dust and particles.
Foam Engineers has been supplying reticulated foams since our company was formed 55 years ago. Over this long period of time we have gained a wealth of knowledge about the different types and qualities of these foams. Foam Engineers only supplies reticulated foams which meet the highest quality standards.
The reticulated foam that Foam Engineers supplies is manufactured using a thermal process, also known as zapping. The already foamed block is placed inside a large vessel and an explosive gas is introduced, whereby a controlled explosion takes place and removes all the closed cell glistening windows, rendering the foam completely open cell.
When looking at the different types of reticulated foam it’s important to establish what application the foam is performing. Where the foam may come into contact with water or a water solution the foam must be a polyether base. Typically where the foam is an air filter then the foam will be a polyester base.
Within the two types of reticulated foam, polyether and polyester, a range of cell sizes is available. This feature is denominated with the letters PPI. This means pores per inch. The cell sizes vary from 4ppi (very coarse) to 110ppi (very fine). Typical increments in pore size are 10ppi, 20ppi, 30ppi, 45ppi, 60ppi, 75ppi, 80ppi, 90ppi and 100ppi. Polyether foam is typically only available in the range 10-45ppi.
Reticulated polyester foam is also available in flame retardant (FR) grade. The FR standard is driven by certain industry sectors and conform to the automotive standard FMVSS302. Certain other standards have been developed around the medical sector and the electronics sector.
Additionally, these grades of reticulated foam can be obtained in different colours. Polyester grades typically will be charcoal grey for the coarse cells and beige for the very fine cells. Polyether foam typically is blue, but other colours such as green, red, brown and white are available on request.
Foam Engineers was the first company to introduce green reticulated polyether foam to the aquatics and pond filter industry. This demonstrates our company’s commitment to work closely with our customers and to be at the forefront of developments within the foam industry.