Reticulated Foam Sheet
Reticulated Foam Sheet
Polyurethane foam sheets, including Reticulated Polyurethane, are part of Advanced Seals & Gaskets Ltd's extensive material range. Reticulated Polyurethane is known by various names in the industry, such as Retic foam, Reticulated PU, open-cell PU, 'Filter foam,' or Skeletal Foam. It features an open cellular structure and is available in PPI (pores per inch) ranging from 10ppi to 100ppi. Notably, Reticulated Foams have a distinct net or mesh-like appearance, especially in the 10ppi to 30ppi range, where the holes are larger.
These holes, forming the foam's composition, are termed 'pores.' The material grade is determined by the number and size of these pores within a square inch of material. Pore sizes range from 10PPI (coarse grade) to 100PPI (compact structure with a softer feel).
The PPI value affects the porosity of the foam, influencing fluid and air flow. Lower PPI values result in higher porosity, allowing for increased fluid and air flow. In contrast, higher PPI values, such as 80ppi to 100ppi, indicate tighter cell structures with reduced air and liquid flow.
Reticulated foams are initially manufactured in large blocks or 'buns,' which are kept in stock. These blocks are then sawn, split down, and supplied as sheets, typically in 2x1 or 1x1-meter sizes. Reticulated foam sheets can be supplied in a plain finish, laminated in layers to create greater thicknesses, or coated with self-adhesives and foils before being dispatched or converted to meet specific requirements.
Some reticulated foams are resistant to a variety of chemicals. This makes them suitable for applications where exposure to harsh chemicals or solvents is expected, such as in industrial filtration or certain medical environments.
Reticulated foam can exhibit good temperature resistance, making it suitable for applications in a range of temperatures. This includes use in HVAC systems, automotive components, and outdoor filtration systems
The open-cell structure of reticulated foam reduces its overall density, resulting in a lightweight material. This is advantageous in applications where weight is a critical factor, such as in aerospace or automotive components.
Reticulated foam has a high degree of porosity due to its open-cell structure. This allows air and fluids to flow freely through the foam, making it ideal for applications where breathability and fluid permeability are crucial.
The open-cell structure of reticulated foam makes it an effective filtration material. It can be used in air filters, water filters, and other filtration applications where the foam's porous nature helps trap particles while allowing the passage of air or liquid.
Reticulated foam typically exhibits low resistance to airflow, resulting in a low pressure drop. This is advantageous in filtration systems where maintaining adequate airflow is essential for efficient operation.
What are Reticulated Polyurethane Foam Sheets?
Reticulated foam sheets are created by splitting master blocks into various thicknesses, often as thin as around 5mm. The term "Reticulated" derives from its net-like appearance, particularly noticeable in lower PPI variants. The lower the PPI, the larger the holes, leading to increased airflow. As PPI values rise, the number of pores also increases, with each grade tailored for specific filtration and absorption applications.
These foam sheets are commonly used to cover larger areas, serving purposes like filtration or noise/vibration control. Alternatively, they are converted into various products such as washers, pads, gaskets, and strips, either by ASG or the customers themselves. Our in-house manufacturing, employing advanced splitters, allows us to produce sheets as thin as around 5mm (even thinner for higher PPI grades with more substance for ease of handling). This versatility enables us to offer plain or self-adhesive backed finishes and even laminate multiple materials together, creating unique variations to meet specific requirements.
Why use Reticulated Polyurethane Foam Sheets?
Reticulated foam sheets are available in various PPI grades, selected based on the intended application and environment. The thickness of the foam significantly affects its filtration efficiency. Thicker foam restricts the flow of air or fluid, especially when compressed, reducing pore size, capturing more dust and debris.
Reconstituted foam sheets are also compressible, altering their firmness and required thickness. Unlike many other sealing materials for moisture protection, reticulated foams are primarily used for dust filtration or anti-vibration purposes.
The behavior of reticulated foam depends on the grade. Lower grades (low PPI) have a lower surface area and porosity, allowing freer air and moisture flow. In contrast, an 80 PPI foam, with smaller pores, captures finer particles and holds more dust.
Available grades of Reticulated Polyurethane Foam Sheets
Advanced Seals & Gaskets Ltd work with a number of material manufacturers, giving our customers more choice when looking for reticulated polyurethane sheets, our most popular grades being:
- 10ppi - 30ppi : the holes are larger, allows more freely flowing liquid and air, will catch larger particles and smaller amounts of fine dust. Is more compressible but with a scouring pad like texture.
- 45ppi - mid range grade, will allow air and liquid to flow through whilst trapping smaller particles, however when compressed, will have a reduced and more controlled flow.
- 60ppi - 80ppi - high porosity grades, have a very small pore and fine cell appearance. Will allow for a very slow flow of air and liquid, catching very fine particles. These grades are still effective even at lower thicknesses.
Benefits of using Reticulated Polyurethane Foam Sheets
- Lightweight and available in a range of porosities
- Low odour
- High resistance to mould and mildew
- Chemical resistance
- Tear resistant and compressible
Advantages of using Reticulated Polyurethane Foam Sheets
Customers often choose reticulated foams for various reasons, with each density offering different filtration levels. These foams possess excellent chemical and fuel resistance, good elongation, and tear strength, making them suitable for demanding industries.
The open-cell structure of reticulated foam, when compressed, alters its properties. It changes breathability, porosity, reduces fluid and air flow rates, and increases dust and debris capture within its pores.
Reticulated foam sheets are available in different PPI grades and can be manufactured as flame retardant (FR) to meet FMVSS302 standards. This versatility makes them ideal for diverse applications and environments.
They can also be produced in various colors, often matching specific grades like marine-safe green or blue. Reticulated filter foams resist mild acids, alkalis, saltwater, fuels, chemicals, oils, lubricants, soaps, and detergents.
These foams serve purposes beyond filtration, including sound absorption, managing sound waves and vibrations in applications such as aircraft, industrial equipment, and household appliances. They are also used for fluid management in cosmetic and medical applications.
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