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silicone foam rubber

Photo: depositphotos.com
Photo: depositphotos.com

Silicone foam rubber is a versatile material frequently used in the furniture industry for various applications, particularly where cushioning, sealing, or thermal and acoustic insulation are necessary. It combines the properties of both silicone and foam, yielding a unique set of characteristics that make it suitable for furniture-making and other applications.

Composition and Production:

Silicone foam rubber is produced by adding a foaming agent to liquid silicone. This agent introduces air bubbles into the material, causing it to expand and create a cellular structure once cured. The curing process can be provoked by heat or at room temperature, depending on the type of silicone and the foaming agent used. The result is a lightweight, porous material that can range from a very soft to a medium firm consistency.

Key Characteristics of Silicone Foam Rubber:

  1. Temperature Resistance: It has a broad operating temperature range, usually between about -55°C to 300°C (-67°F to 572°F), making it suitable for applications subjected to extreme heat or cold.

  2. Durability: Silicone foam is known for its longevity, resisting degradation from environmental factors such as ozone, ultraviolet light, and oxygen.

  3. Compressibility: The open or closed-cell structure of silicone foam rubber provides excellent compression set resistance, meaning it can be subjected to repeated compressing and will return to its original shape without significant degradation.

  4. Waterproof and Moisture Resistance: Especially in closed-cell configurations, it can act as a water and moisture barrier, making it suitable for outdoor furniture or applications in humid environments.

  5. Chemical Resistance: Silicone foam rubber resists a wide range of chemicals, including detergents and solvents, ensuring that it does not easily deteriorate when exposed to various chemicals.

  6. Fire Resistance: It is inherently flame retardant, allowing it to withstand exposure to fire without melting or generating significant heat, smoke, or toxic gases.

  7. Cushioning and Comfort: The softness and compressibility of silicone foam make it an excellent choice for cushioning in furniture, providing comfort and support.

  8. Acoustic and Thermal Insulation: The material's cellular structure makes it effective at absorbing sound and providing thermal insulation, which can be advantageous in pieces like office partitions or lounge seating.

  9. Hypoallergenic and Non-Toxic: It is often a hypoallergenic option that doesn't promote bacterial or fungal growth, making it a healthier choice for varied environments.

Applications in Furniture:

  • Seat cushions and padding where comfort and durability is required, such as in sofas, chairs, and mattresses.
  • Seals and gaskets for furniture doors or access panels that require a waterproof or airtight seal.
  • Specialty furniture designed for outdoor use or challenging environmental conditions.
  • Soundproofing elements in office furniture to minimize noise pollution.
  • Vibration damping pads in places like appliance mounts to reduce noise transmission.


Despite its advantageous properties, silicone foam rubber can be more expensive than other foam materials, such as those based on polyurethane. Moreover, its tear strength is not as high as some other rubbers, which might limit its application in scenarios where the foam is subject to abrasive forces or sharp edges.

In summary, silicone foam rubber is a reliable and adaptable material in the furniture industry, imparting products with enhanced durability, comfort, and resistance to environmental challenges. Its unique properties come with a higher price point, but they often justify this cost through superior performance and a long lifespan.

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