What is a memory foam mattress?
The defining feature of foam mattresses is that they use form-conforming materials which change to accommodate the shape of any object placed on top of them.
Some materials which meet the form-conforming description include viscous-elastic foam and latex rubber.
Polyurethane foam is also form-conforming.
Diverse combinations of the above form-conforming materials are used in manufacturing foam mattresses.
The process of making memory foam mattresses
Normally, the most important step in making memory foam mattresses is factory-mixing the relevant chemicals to produce the foam. This, of course, is preceded by a design stage, where the desired shape and dimensions of the mattresses are worked out.
Meanwhile, a bag (typically, a simple cloth fabric bag) is produced into which the mattress-shaped form will be inserted.
During the chemical processing stage, the foam is molded so that it can function as a mattress (by offering support to anyone who sleeps on it) even before it is put into the covering bag.
The covering bag is actually meant to protect the body from coming into direct contact with the foam. It is a much easier hygiene practice to remove the bag and wash it regularly than to wash the mattress foam itself.
Before shipment, the memory foam mattresses — inserted into their protective cloth bags–may be further inserted into plastic bags to protect them from moisture, dust, and other elements.
Advantages associated with memory foam mattresses
The main advantage associated with memory foam mattresses is their firmness. There are many cases where these foam mattresses have been seen to be firmer than the coil-alone innerspring mattresses. Indeed, we increasingly see mattresses that incorporate both innerspring (coil) and foam technologies – the idea being to ensure optimum firmness.
Another advantage associated with foam mattresses is that they are typically very affordable. Indeed, it is mainly due to foam technology in mattress manufacturing that mattress usage has become common worldwide, including in the more impoverished areas.
Disadvantages associated with foam mattresses
One of the major disadvantages of foam mattresses is that they are typically not very durable, as the foam tends to lose its firmness with continued usage. Of course, different types of foam have different ratings in terms of long-term stability, so this disadvantage only manifests to a certain degree.
Some remote health concerns have also been expressed concerning direct exposure to foam. These are easily addressed by covering the foam mattresses with their original protective cloth fabric bags (or with ordinary bed sheets) rather than directly sleeping on them.
Foam is flammable and explosive. Thus, in case of fire accidents, it can be a major hazard, as it tends to provide fuel (and hence enhancement) to the fire.
Generally, a good memory foam mattress will provide comfort and good rest for a few years without spending too much money.