What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is polyurethane with additional chemicals increasing its viscosity and density. Higher-density memory foam softens in reaction to body heat, allowing it to mold to a warm body in a few minutes. Faster speed of recovery of a foam to its original shape after a weight is removed is sometimes claimed as an advantage by memory-foam mattress producers, who may talk of "newer generation" foams with "faster recovery.
Its most common domestic uses are mattresses, pillows, shoes and blankets. It has medical uses, such as wheelchair seat cushions, hospital bed pillows and padding for people suffering long-term pain or postural problems; for example, a memory foam cervical pillow may alleviate chronic neck pain. Its heat-retaining properties may help some pain sufferers who find the added warmth helps to decrease the pain.
The heat-retaining properties can also be a downside when used in mattresses and pillows so in the second generation memory foam, companies began using open cell structure to better help with breathability.
Memory foam, like other polyurethane products, can be combustible. Laws in several jurisdictions have been enacted to require that all bedding, including memory foam items, be resistant to ignition from an open flame such as a candle or cigarette lighter.
There is concern that high levels of the fire retardant PBDE, commonly used in memory foam, could cause health problems for users.
Uses & Benefits
A memory foam mattress is usually denser than other foam mattresses, making it both more supportive and heavier. Memory foam mattresses are often sold for higher prices than traditional mattresses.
The new second and third generation memory foams have an open-cell structure that reacts to body heat and weight by 'molding' to the sleeper's body, helping relieve pressure points, preventing pressure sores, etc. Most memory foam has the same basic chemical composition, however the density and layer thickness of the foam makes different mattresses feel very different. A high-density mattress will have better compression ratings over the life of the bedding. A lower-density one will have slightly shorter life due to the compression that takes place after repeated use.
Source: Memory Foam
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