When budgets get squeezed the selection and purchase of every component, spare part or piece of material is scrutinized carefully. Many times engineers and maintenance technicians have little choice but to go with the least expensive, despite knowing it's likely to fail prematurely. That in turn leads to unplanned downtime and additional repair work, the costs of which can quickly negate the initial savings realized.
Gaskets and sealing materials are a good illustration. In many applications a better quality foam material will last longer and reduce overall costs, yet it's difficult to convince management of this.
PORON® Urethane foam is an excellent example. Properties like superior uniformity and compression set resistance result in much longer life and potentially lower overall costs. Making the case for using PORON® hinges on understanding the differences between it and other foams, and the benefits that result.
Introduction to PORON® Urethane Foams
PORON®is the name of a family of urethane foams produced by Rogers Corporation. They use a proprietary process plus special additives to control bubble formation during the foaming reaction. This results in an open cell structure with small pores of very consistent size that are distributed evenly throughout the foam. In contrast, the pores in other foams have a far more random nature.
The benefit of uniform pore size and distribution is predictable properties and performance. Two pieces of the same grade of PORON® will display the same characteristics, (within limits, naturally,) regardless of when each was made. In fact it would be fair to call PORON® an engineered foam.
The piece-to-piece consistency of PORON® lets Rogers Corporation publish a broad array of test and measurement data. In addition to the density numbers put out by almost all foam manufacturers, Rogers provide ASTM test results along with other material properties.
In select applications it's important to know parameters like thermal conductivity, dielectric constant and surface and volume resistivity. More generally, users of flexible foam fabrications want to know about elasticity and recovery. Merryweather can provide detailed performance information for every grade of PORON® on request, but the numbers below for PORON® 4701 (a firmer grade,) should give a general appreciation.
- Density: 15 – 30 lb/ft3
- 25% Compression force deflection: 8 – 60 psi
- Shore "A" durometer hardness: 18 – 55
- Max compression set: 10%
In less technical terms, PORON® is quite soft and resists taking a compression set. In other words, it's good material for many gasket applications.