Memory Foam – A Brief but Fascinating History
Around half a century ago, NASA got a group of scientists on board, asking them to develop a memory foam. The goal was to create something that made astronauts more comfortable, relieving pressure from their bodies during G-force exposure, and to keep equipment carefully in place. What these scientists came up with was visco-elastic polyurethane. This acted as a shock absorber to the astronauts’ bodies, making them more comfortable during extreme pressure.
NASA tested the material thoroughly. The first models broke down rapidly and later models weren’t particularly durable either. Furthermore, the material released foul-smelling gasses, some of them even dangerous. NASA all but gave up on the material, never using it in any spacecrafts. Instead, they sold the invention to Sweden’s Fagerdala World Farm, who started to perfect it. By the 1980s, they had developed something available to consumers. When you’re next reading Nectar Sleep Mattress Reviews, consider this interesting history of memory foam.
The Need for Memory Foam
In the 60s and 70s, people turned their backs on latex foam because of deforestation in the Far East. While they returned in the 90s with a promise of sustainability, there was clearly a need for something else. It was during this time period that visco-elastic was first used in coil and spring mattresses, finding the material reduced some of the pressure caused by these metal parts.
What mattress manufacturers found was that the material was better at evenly distributing body weight, and that it was temperature sensitive as well. In fact, in cool temperatures, it would harden completely, and in the heat, it almost melted. Fagerdala addressed this and certified their product.
Finally, in the 90s, the first memory foam mattress became available. The Swedish company made a fortune from their creation and released it in the USA in 1992. Rapidly, the US market became worth around $8 billion a year! Naturally, the Middle East, Europe, Canada, and China were paying attention, and they developed their own versions. Soon thereafter, the inner spring mattress all but disappeared.
Memory Foam Today
Today, many people sleep on memory foam. The density of the mattress is measured in pounds, ranging from two to nine, although most mattresses are between three and six pounds. In fact, it has been determined that density of six pounds of more does not offer any added health benefits and may even get uncomfortable. The United States, Sweden, and Canada are now known as the best memory foam producers in the world, making comfortable mattresses with little off gassing problems (the issue that faced the astronauts).
The health benefits of memory foam mattresses are vast. In fact, when the product was certified, it was targeted not at the domestic market, but rather at the healthcare industry, where it was picked up instantly. Because the material molds to the body and relieves pressure points, it was perfect for people who were bedridden, or for those who should not move in sleep or at rest, such as those in burns units. However, its superior comfort levels quickly meant that regular consumers also wanted to access this type of mattress and the rest, as they say, is history.