Flexible Solutions

Open-Cell or Closed-Cell Foam: Which is Best?

Posted by Lynn Zeheralis

Jan 31, 2018 8:46:26 AM

At Marian, we recommend materials based on a product’s application. This is certainly true when it comes to foam materials for use as a gasket.  This means in order to recommend the best material, our first step is to understand the conditions, forces, stress and other requirements the gasket will experience in your end product.

Material Options for Foam Gaskets and Seals

A common misconception is that open-cell materials are an inferior material for use in static gaskets and seals. It's true that in an uncompressed state, open-cell foam (even micro-cellular) will allow some level of ingress.  Because of this, you wouldn't want to use an open-cell foam in a life vest.  As a gasket and when sufficiently compressed, micro-cellular open-cell urethane foam can form a more effective seal for a longer service life than many closed-cell foams.Open and Closed-Cell Structures

Closed-cell foams are a cluster of independent bubbles with gas trapped inside each cell.  Open-cell foam is composed of interconnected cells in a web-like fashion that has some amount of openness within each cell connected to the next cell in the web.  When these openings are very small in a dense (heavy) foam, it is called micro-cellular open-cell.

Most closed-cell foam materials have some open cells within their matrix.  These may be cells that did not fully form during the blowing process.  Typically a foam should have more than 70% closed cells before it can be labeled as such.

Under constant compression, a closed cell foam may lose compression force due to permeation of the gas enclosed in the cells or due to cell rupture from pressure.  Under the same conditions, the micro-cellular open-cell structure is able to maintain compression force because the cell structure is an interconnected web and not dependent on the gas trapped inside each cell. Learn more about compression set resistance in foam.

Click the button below to download our eBook: What to Consider When Selecting Foam Materials for Static Gaskets & Seals.

     Selecting Foam Material for Static Sealing Gaskets

Do you like what you see and want to learn more? If you're interested in learning more about Marian and our wide variety of value-adding die cutting capabilities, give us a call at (800) 733-0062 or fill out our Contact Us Form and one of our material specialists will reach out to you. We'd love to be the solution to your next problem!


Topics: Foams