What is closed cell foam? The gas molecules in closed cell foams are contained and aren’t connected with one another. Foams are typically measured by density, or how stiff the foam is, as well as compression set resistance, or how quickly and easily the foam is able to bounce back after being compressed.
This results in a textile that is more stable and durable than open cell foams that have connected gas molecules. Closed cell foams are water and sweat proof, and because of their structure, they can often be perforated and cut into foam rolls for further lamination.
Conventional closed cell foam rolls tend to be quite rigid, not soft, and not flexible compared to open cell foams. However, materials like neoprene and Ariaprene achieve these flexible properties. Traditional closed cell foams are also not offered in as many colors as open cell foams. Because each of these foams have performance limitations based on their physical properties, open cell foams have typically only been used on specific areas like shoe uppers, and closed cell foams were used in places like the midsole, adding to the manufacturing costs of the end product.
Common types of closed cell foams:
• Polyethylene: PE is typically pressed out into sheets, dye cut, and laminated; waterproof
• Latex rubber foam: hasn’t been vulcanized; can be used for soles and combined with synthetic raw materials for a hybrid product
• Memory foam: this foam was originally developed by NASA, memory (also known as temper) foam is made primarily of polyurethane, and has very slow “springback” that is characteristically found in mattresses and in medical settings; can be open or closed cell
• Ethylene vinyl acetate: EVA is the most commonly used material in footwear, commonly found in midsoles. It’s a copolymer that can have differing ratios of vinyl acetate and ethylene, resulting in a material of varied quality and durability
• Neoprene: Also known as polychloroprene; can be manufactured from rubber or latex, and found in laptop sleeves, wetsuits, and braces. It’s highly resistant to degradation, making it a good choice for lining landfills but tends to be harmful to the environment when utilized for footwear and apparel
• Styrene butadiene rubber: typically found in the soles of shoes SBRs good abrasion resistance with the addition of protective additives
• Ariaprene®: a highly customizable closed cell TPE based material that can be layered for soft touch qualities similar to open cell PU. Exceptional stretch and recovery properties.
Ariaprene® is an eco-friendly foam that’s completely customizable, meeting the performance and design demands of both open cell and conventional closed cell foam rolls. It’s made of a closed cell foam, but can be layered and laminated with a proprietary water-based lamination technology that has perfected over years of development by Tiong Liong Industrial Co. in Taichung, Taiwan. Generally found between 1–15mm in thickness, and 8-30C hardness, Ariaprene® is also available in a high stretch series, low heat-shrinkage series, and shock-absorbing series. It also requires less energy during manufacturing and is degradable and recyclable, unlike most footwear and softgood closed cell foams.
Design and Manufacturing advantages of Ariaprene:
• Visual customization: more colors including white; ability to combine and stack layers
• Textural customization: laser cutting, embossing, and thermo-molding are just a few options
• Environmentally friendly: doesn’t require vulcanization or curing, recyclable without devulcanization
• Direct manufacturing: allows for a consistent product with a quicker lead time and turnaround
Because of the proprietary manufacturing process of Ariaprene®, the closed cell foam rolls can be cut into extremely thin and precise sheets, and fully customized for any laser, embossing, or thermo-molding needs. From there, these can be combined with one or more layers with a patented, eco-friendly lamination technique, and processed for final packaging. Ariaprene® is the first solution for both designers, manufacturers, and supply chain managers, offering a closed cell foam roll product that is more consistent, uses less energy, increases production, is eco-friendly, and fully bespoke.