A2LA - American Association of Laboratory Accreditation. A non-profit, professional membership society committed to the success of laboratories through the administration of a broad spectrum, nationwide laboratory accreditation system and a full range of training on laboratory practices taught by experts in their fields.
ASTM - Initials used as an abbreviation for the American Society for Testing and Materials which is an organization devoted to the establishment of standard methods and procedures of testing materials.
ASTM D 1056-00 - American Society for Testing and Materials. This specification (D 1056) covers flexible cellular rubber products known as sponge rubbers and expanded rubbers. It is designed to provide certain physical property parameters and test methods for cellular rubber. The 00 stands for the revision completed in the year 2000. Previous versions include 1998, 1991, 1985, 1978, 1968, 1967 and 1965.
Ball Rebound Test - One of several test methods for comparing flexible foam for resilience (see Resiliency). Basically, a steel ball of specified mass is dropped from a fixed height onto a foam sample, and the height of the rebound of the ball is recorded. The rebound height is divided by the original height to give a percentage. The method is a relative test rather than absolute, since the density of the foam has a strong influence on the results.
Ball Rebound - A test procedure used to measure the surface resiliency of flexible foam. The test involves dropping a steel ball of known mass from a pre-determined height onto a foam sample. The rebound height attained by the steel ball, expressed as a percentage of the original drop height, is the ball rebound resiliency value (Test Method ASTM D3574).
California Technical Bulletin 117 - California Bureau of Home Furnishings test method and requirements for open flame and cigarette resistant materials used in residential upholstered furniture construction. Cal-117 is a small scale component test. Ignition source is either an open flame gas burner as specified by Federal Test Method Standard No. 191, Method 5903.2 or smoldering cigarettes meeting the cigarette specification of DOC FF4-72.
Cells - Cellular foams are composed of millions of small cavities or cells. These cells may be interconnecting, open-cell; or non-connecting, closed-cell. Most of the cells or bubbles in a closed-cell foam are not broken; they resemble inflated balloons compressed together in a compact configuration. Open-cell means that each cell is connected to the other with an opening so that water, air or gas can pass through them, similar to the way water is absorbed by a dish sponge. The cell walls, or surfaces of the bubbles, are broken and air fills all of the spaces in the material.
Class 'A' - A Class 'A' surface is defined as any exposed part of an automotive interior or exterior. The packaging utilized in the production, handling and delivery of automobile parts must not in any way affect the quality of the product. The parts must remain in the same condition as they were when originally produced. This includes any visual defects such as stains, burns, scrapes, haze, excess surface roughness, discoloration, etc.
C.O.T. - Certificate of Test
Chemically Blown - A term applying to a cellular material in which the cells are formed by gases generated from thermal decomposition or other chemical reaction. In other words and in most cases, a powdered chemical that is added to the mixture which, when exposed to a certain temperature, turns into a gas and causes the foam to expand.
Compression Deflection @ 25% (CD) - The measure of the hardness of a cellular product. In other words, the force required to compress a material 25% of its original thickness. It can be expressed in lb/in² (pounds per square inch) or kPa.
Compression Force Deflection (CFD) - A test which consists of measuring the force necessary to produce a 50% compression over the entire top area of the foam specimen. In other words, the force required to compress a material 50% of its original thickness. Also referred to as Compression Load Deflection (CLD).
Compression Load Deflection (CLD) - See Compression Force Deflection
Compression Set - The residual decrease in thickness of a test specimen measured 30 minutes or 24 hours after removal from a suitable loading device in which the specimen had been subjected for a definite time to compressive deformation under specified conditions of load and temperature.
Cross-Linking - The bonding of molecules into a structure. This gives the polymer increased strength resulting in superior properties. Cross-Linking can be achieved by either physical (irradiation by an electron beam) or by chemical means.
Density - The weight in solids of a unit volume of material expressed in pounds per cubic foot (PCF) or grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³). In other words, it's the ratio of the mass of a body to its volume.
Durometer - An instrument used to measure hardness of elastic materials. Durometer is also used to reference a scale of hardness; ie, a low durometer implies a soft material. Types of durometers include Shore A, D and 00.
Elastomer – Elastomers utilize resins with a specific gravity of less than .89, resulting in a foam that exhibits exceptional elongation properties; one that is capable of being draped, more rubber-like and softer in feel.
Elongation - The percent that a specially shaped sample will stretch from its original length before tearing or breaking. Expressed as a percentage, this test is used to measure the length of stretch in a material before it breaks (Test Method ASTM D3574).
EPS Expanded Polystyrene - Also known as beadboard.
EVA - Ethylene Vinyl Acetate. It is generally used as a co-polymer in polyolefin foams resulting in greater resilience and higher tensile and tear performance.
FMVSS-302 - Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. This specification (302) describes test procedures used to determine the burn rate of parts, portions of parts and composites used as interior trim parts in passenger cars, multi-purpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses.
Flammability - The characteristics of a material that pertain to its relative ease and relative ability to sustain combustion.
Flame Retardant - Resistant to catching fire. Usually additives included in the manufacturing ingredients to prevent the material from catching fire, although some polymers are naturally resistant.
Foam - A product, either flexible or rigid, that has been produced by the internal generation of a gas in a fluid medium that is polymerizing while expanding in volume. The final result is either an open or closed-cell product.
Hardness - The resistance to indentation, as measured under specific conditions.
Interior Density - The density of a foam sample at its center. Generally, a foam will form a density gradient with the highest density being at the outer, or skin surface, and the lowest density being at the core of the foam sample.
K Factor - A measure of the thermal conductivity of heat insulation expressed as BTUs/sq. ft. Lower values indicate better insulating materials.
Laboratory Accreditation - Accreditation is defined as: the granting of approval to an institution of learning by an official review board after having met specific requirements. This applies to laboratories based on test methods, documentation and traceability.
Lot Number - A term used to describe the code on a material that is used for traceability.
MVSS-302 - Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. This specification (302) describes test procedures used to determine the burn rate of parts, portions of parts and composites used as interior trim parts in passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses.
PCF - Pounds per Cubic Foot. Equivalent to metric kg/m3.
Plastomers – Plastomers utilize resins with a specific gravity of .89 and above. The resulting foam is tougher, stronger and more 'plastic-like' than foams produced using traditional catalysts.
Polyethylene (PE) - A thermoplastic composed of polymers of ethylene.
Polyurethane (PU) - Also known as flexible urethane.
PP - Polypropylene foam.
PSA - Pressure sensitive adhesive that can be applied to all foams.
Resiliency - A test to determine the shock absorption properties of a foam. For this test, a material is placed flat on an instrument and a weight is dropped onto it from a specified height. The amount of bounce is then taken from a scale to get the final value. The lower the value, the higher the shock absorption properties of the foam.
Rebound - See Resiliency, above.
Self-Extinguishing - A somewhat loosely used term describing the ability of a material to cease burning once the source of flame has been removed.
Skin - A relatively dense layer at the surface of a cellular foam material. This layer is the result of exposure to heat and/or contact with a mold during the manufacturing process.
Skive - To shave or cut off the surface of a material in a horizontal manner. Sometimes referred to as splitting, which means to divide sharply or cleanly into layers.
Slitting - The action of cutting material to width.
Specification - A document that spells out the requirements for a particular material or group of materials. It normally details the physical properties, performance requirements, general composition, sampling procedure and packaging characteristics.
Specific Gravity - Is the ratio of the weight or mass of a given volume of a substance to the weight or mass of water in the same given volume. If something has a specific gravity of 1, it has the same specific gravity as water. If a substance has a specific gravity of less than 1, then it will float in water. If a substance has a specific gravity of more than 1, then it will sink in water.
Tear Resistance - The force required to tear completely across a specifically nicked test specimen or right angle test specimen by elongating at a specific rate.
Tear Strength - The ability of a piece of material to resist propagation of a cut made in the sample. Reference ASTM D-3574.
Temperature Range - The minimum and maximum temperature that a material can be exposed to before the physical properties and/or appearance begins to move out of their specification range.
Tensile Strength - The pounds per square inch (psi) of force required to stretch a material without tearing, expressed as a percentage of the original length. Reference ASTM D-3574.
Tolerance - The permissible deviation from a specified value of a dimension.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) - An independent, non-profit organization testing for public safety. UL is chartered to establish, maintain, and operate laboratories for the examination and testing of devices, systems, and materials to determine their relation to hazards to life and property.
UL 94 HF1 - The 94 is a specification for testing the flammability of plastic materials used for parts in devices and appliances. The HF-1 test is intended to be performed on foamed plastic materials. Other tests include 94 HBF, 94 V-O and 94 5-V.
Void (hole, blow hole) - An unintentional cavity occurring in a bun. It is usually circular in appearance, medium to large in size.
Water Absorption Test - The process of submerging a piece of cellular rubber in distilled water and exposing it to increased atmospheric pressure. The foam is weighed beforehand and afterwards. This test measures the amount of water absorbed by the material. The lower the percentage, the less water the material absorbs.