Difference Between PU Foam and EPE Foam

When the pockets of gas are transformed into a liquid and then frozen, they take the form of foam. These foams can either be open-cell or closed-cell and typically soft to touch.

PU and EPE are the two types of foams used widely for making beddings, cushions, sheets for sofa and other furniture and packaging.

PU Foam vs EPE Foam

The main difference between PU foam and EPE foam is that PU foam is mostly used as mattresses in the form of big blocks. On the other hand, EPE foam is mostly used in the packaging procedure because of its shock-resistant feature. Both of them are light weighted but used for different purposes based on the distinct characteristics they share.

PU Foam vs EPE Foam

PU foam is considered to be one of the most common types of mattress foam that are shortened from polyurethane foam. Some denote PU foam as polyfoam.

PU foam is generally more springy and bouncy than other types of mattress foam. PU foam can have various types of external appearance depending on the material used.

EPE foam is a short-term used for Expanded polyethylene that is made of polyethylene. EPE foam is semi-rigid closed cell foam which makes it capable of absorbing shock waves and vibration.

EPE foam is typically used in packaging, Gym equipment, mats, etc. The type of material used to produce EPE foam is known as expanded pellets.

Comparison Table Between PU Foam and EPE Foam

Parameters Of ComparisonPU FoamEPE Foam
Scientific nameThe scientific name used to denote PU foam is Polyurethane. The scientific name used to denote EPE foam is Polyethylene.
InventionThe year in which PU foam aka Polyurethane was manufactured and introduced is 1937 in Germany. The year in which EPE foam aka Polyethylene was manufactured and introduced to the world is 1970.
Type of cellsPU foam is considered to be open-cell foam. EPE foam is considered to be closed-cell foam.
ColourPU foam is available in the market in many colors, for example, yellow, brown, black green, red, etc. EPE foam is originally comes in pure white color and desired colors can be added to it.
UsesPU foam is used a lot in different sectors of industry such rest are, automotive, furniture, construction sectors, etc. The prime uses of EPE foam are in packaging due to its high efficiency of shock resistance.

What is PU Foam?

PU or polyurethane foam can have many uses but one of the most common use of PU foam is as a mattress. Although it is inferior to latex mattress yet PU foam mattresses are preferred by people since it is less expensive and durable.

Except for the mattress, PU foam is also used in sofa cushions, pillows, mattress toppers, etc.

The material used to make PU foam is known to be petrochemicals. Petrochemicals are derived from the procedure of reacting polyols and di-isocyanates that are abstracted from crude oils.

Other essential chemicals responsible for the production of PU foam are complex alcohol, petroleum by-products, diisocyanate, polyol, etc.

PU foam is mostly used as the upper layer of mattresses while a person can also use a single block of PU foam as a mattress. PU foam is not expensive and it offers the best quality.

But in given prizes, it is used widely on a high scale. In recent decades, mattress retailers have replaced spring coils with PU foam because it is low in density and can be compressed easily.

PU foam is one of the greatest mediums of reducing shipping charges since it is very light in weight. But this lightweight characteristic is also liable for the short life span of the product made of PU foam.

What is EPE Foam?

EPE foam is a very common type of plastic or foam that is used to make multiple things for domestic uses.

EPE foam is also known to be a thermoplastic resin that tends to melt at high temperatures and can be molded into different shapes, for example, foam, tubes, sheets, etc. Hence, it can be said that it is plastic which comes with no smell and odors.

EPE foam is very flexible and lightweight and for this feature, it is widely used in packaging. Because it gives better protection for fragile and tender objects by observing shocks.

EPE foam is also thermal resistant. EPE foam can be recycled quite easily by melting it down.

EPE foam is waterproof and oil resistant which makes it great insulating material. The density and weight of EPE foam can vary depending on many factors. EPE foam comes in pure white color hence it can adopt any color by mixing relative dye or colors.

These colors are added to the EPE foam during the melting process. The methods are used to process EPE foam are known as laminating, cutting, hot forming, trimming, etc. Because it is recyclable, EPE foam is considered environmentally friendly.

Main Differences Between PU Foam and EPE Foam

  1. PU foam is usually purchased in big blocks, hence, it can be more expensive than EPE. While EPE foam is purchased in small blocks so it doesn’t need a large sum to be spent.
  2. When a person wants to compare weight, PU foam wins the race by being heavier. On the other hand, EPE foam is lighter than PU foam.
  3. Due to its structure, PU foam is commonly used to make mattresses. On the other hand, EPE foam is used to make sofa cushions.
  4. When it comes to colors, PU foam has a wide range to offer its consumers. While EPE foam comes in white color only.
  5. PU foam is also known as Polyurethane because of its production procedure. On the other hand, EPE foam is also known as Polyethylene.
Difference Between PU Foam and EPE Foam

Conclusion

The foam was invented as the softest material to be used in the aircraft being sent to space by NASA. The first form of foam was designated as memory foam.

It was invented with the main goal which was to absorb shocks. But every useful thing can not be used for one purpose only and that’s the reason foam was spread in the world to provide its comfortable services.

Foam comes in many types depending on how it was made. One of the salient features is the recycling that foam provides. It can be melted and reshaped as much as a person wants to.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0021955X10392200
  2. https://academic.oup.com/tse/article-abstract/1/2/154/5567260
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