A Simplification of IFD Foam Testing

Foam is both a versatile and crucial substance found in a wide variety of products including safety equipment, foam cushions in furniture, insulation & thermal protection, automobile interiors & sound deadening, carpet padding & flooring installations, shipping & packaging, shoes & apparel, mattresses & bedding, marine applications, and much more. It is hard to imagine our modern world without foam and foam products.

Materials testing systems are one option to consider when managing quality control of foam products. Foam testing is often concentrated on Indentation Force Deflection (IFD), a method for determining the firmness, stiffness, and load bearing capacity of the materials.

IFD measures the load required to depress a 50 square inch compression platen into a polyurethane foam specimen. These mechanical properties are influenced by the thickness and size of the sample. In essence, IFD measures firmness, which could be an essential part of chairs, couches and other furniture.

Before the existence of polyurethane foam, rubber latex foams were in wider use and the standard for measuring firmness was called RMA (Rubber Manufacturer’s Association), according to a publication from the Polyurethane Foam Association. RMA was executed in a similar way to IFD measurements of today.

While IFD plays a role in the comfort of a seat cushion, it is not the only factor, as tensile, tear, elongation, and recovery time tests are all part of the equation. This is represented as the number of pounds at a deflection percentage of the height of the specimen (ex. 40 lbs/50 square inches at a 30 percent deflection on a four inch thick sample).

Accuracy is a very important factor when measuring the Indentation Force Deflection. Manufacturers of foam and foam products come to ADMET in order to test their foam products because of our accurate and customizable systems as well as cost-effective results.

The eXpert 5600F foam testing system can perform IFD tests as well as tensile, compression, elongation, recovery time, and tear measurements. For those who need to determine the fatigue capabilities of their materials, the eXpert 5900F fatigue foam testing system can perform the same tests as the 5600F testing machine and can also conduct fatigue tests. These machines as well as ADMET’s software exceed international testing standards and can determine ASTM D3574 amd ISO 2439 among other foam testing specifications.

All types of foam can be tested on these particular ADMET machines including open-cell, closed-cell, latex, polyurethane, and reticulated. The eXpert 5600F series along with machine controllers and tension compression actuators fit a frame created specifically for testing foam specimens.

Some of the features of this machine include wide tensile grips for holding thicker foam samples, a circular indenter and swivel joint, the ability to quickly transfer between tensile and compression tests, and pre-installed foam test methods and analysis on the MTESTQuattro PC-based controller.

During an IFD test, the MTESTQuattro software charts live load and foam height over time. A report from the controller consists of the force of deflection, support factor, specimen identifier, load, and time. This controller offers flexibility with regard to control, data obtainment, analysis, and reporting.

ADMET staff developed the eXpert 5600F Series after working with leading companies within the foam industry and determining that typical universal testing machines do not adequately meet the needs of most foam manufacturers. These systems did not provide enough horizontal space for testing larger samples, were too large, and were prohibitively expensive.

The eXpert 5600F Series solved these problems through a design that was specific to foam specimens. This shows how the ADMET engineering team is capable of customizing and developing testing systems according to the specifications of its customers. ADMET materials testing machines are supported for life, exceed all ASTM and ISO testing requirements, and are easy to install and use. To learn more about our foam testing machines, please contact Andrew DeWolfe, the Account Director for the foam sector, at 781-769-0850 ext. 29.

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By |March 18th, 2013|Products, Test How To's, Video|Comments Off on A Simplification of IFD Foam Testing