Polyurethane in Home Furnishings

Polyurethane, mostly in the form of flexible polyurethane foam (FPF), is the one of the most popular materials used in home furnishings in places such as furniture, bedding and carpet underlay. While FPF may appear to be a simple product, it is actually very complex. And it can be produced to have an almost infinite variety of properties.

Used as a cushioning material for upholstered furniture, FPF provides three primary functions—making your furniture more comfortable, durable, and supportive.

Polyurethane Foam Under Pressure

FPF has proven its durability and flexibility in testing: even when compressed by 90 percent for 22 hours, FPF can recover more than 90 percent of its original height. In other testing, after a weighted indent or foot compressed a foam sample 80,000 times, the foam retained more than 80 percent of its original firmness.

In addition, polyurethane is becoming an even better furnishings material, due to new, advanced manufacturing processes that make the end product more uniform, predictable and durable. Foam producers are working very closely with home-furnishings manufacturers to design improved products, and test their performance in various applications and environments.

Unlike other cushioning materials, the qualities of FPF that enhance comfort, durability, health and safety can be quantifiably measured. These include:

  • Density
  • Surface firmness
  • Deep-down firmness
  • Support
  • Surface feel
  • Handling strength
  • Height retention
  • Firmness retention

Manufacturers today can create many different combinations of these key qualities to exact specifications. In fact, no other cushioning material’s performance specifications can be so closely identified and maintained. Factors ranging from the manufacturing process and filler materials used, down to the material’s cell structure itself can be adjusted to produce foam for nearly every function. 

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