Plastazote foam is a versatile man-made polyethylene foam which is produced as a byproduct of oil. Crude oil is made up of a mixture of hydrocarbons which are separated into different parts by fractional distillation. Naphtha is one of these separated fractions and is used to manufacture plastics and chemicals. After further processing and cracking at a chemical plant, polyethylene is one of the products produced.
Plastazote foam is a vast number of nitrogen cells held in a mass of polyethylene. Because the foam is not like a sponge, where the cells are open and connected, gases and liquids are not readily absorbed. In contrast to other foams, it is tough and flexible, defined by the regular shapes, sides and walls of the cells made from polyethylene. This shows why the material is so light and why liquids cannot pass through or be absorbed. If the Plastazote foam is squashed and compressed, each cell acts like a balloon and the foam bounces back to its original shape.
Plastazote foam, a member of the Azote family, can be easily shaped and cut. It can be bonded to other materials (fabrics, itself, wood, metal etc). It can be moulded at relatively low temperatures (polyethylene has a low softening temperature so, as the foam softens, it becomes easy to form). Plastazote is lightweight, non-toxic, odourless, will not absorb water, is buoyant. It can be washed, disinfected and wiped clean, has excellent chemical resistance to most oils, solvents, acids and alkalis. It is weatherproof and has good ultraviolet stability, it is durable, tough and flexible and recovers repeatedly from impacts. It is a highly energy absorbent material and is a very good thermal insulator.
Plastazote foam is a product used everyday; in swimming pools for floats and buoyancy aids, as waterslide mats, surfboards, pool toys, sleeping mats, gym and exercise mats. It is used as body protection for various sports, and as shoe insoles and helmet liners. It has important uses in health care as supports, orthopedic shoes, surgical splints and collars, as well as mobility equipment for the disabled. Theatres and film sets around the world use it to make stage props and set designs, costumes, masks and hats. Other applications are for sound and pipe insulation, gaskets, anti-vibration pads , buoys, fenders and oil booms, case inserts.