Foamed plastic

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Closed cell polyethylene foam


Polymers containing uniformly dispersed air pockets. All foamed plastics are lightweight and buoyant. Additionally they may be soft and spongy (foam rubber, polyethylene, etc.) or rigid and strong (polystyrene, epoxy). Steam, air, or an inert gas is mechanically added or chemically produced in the plastic resins during manufacture to form a cured open cellular structure. Closed-cell foams have individual non-connected bubbles while open-cell foams have an interconnected tunnels formed when the incorporated gas or steam escapes during cure. Foamed plastics are made from most types of polymers (rubber foam rubber, polyethylene, polystyrene, epoxy, polyurethane, resin vinyl resins, resin silicone resins, etc.)

Closed cell polyethylene foam

Synonyms and Related Terms

goma espuma (Esp.); plastique expens (Fr.); mousse de plastique (Fr.); plastic foam (AAT preferred); foam rubber; expanded plastic; cellular plastic; Styrofoam;

Hazards and Safety

Most are combustible.


  • Theodore J. Reinhart, Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988
  • Richard S. Lewis, Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Pam Hatchfield, Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976

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