The UK's Furniture Research Association

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Foam Testing

  • Foam 2

Foam has a big impact on the comfort, durability and customer perception of furniture. It needs to withstand day-to-day use and the most suitable foam should be carefully selected for the different types of furniture.

Testing foam ensures it has the best level of durability, compression recovery and hardness for its intended use.

FIRA International offers test regimes including:

  • BS EN ISO 3385 Flexible cellular polymeric materials. Determination of fatigue by constant-load pounding. To test the durability of the foam.
  • BS EN ISO 2439 Flexible cellular polymeric materials. Determination of hardness (indentation technique). To measure the hardness of the foam before use.
  • BS EN ISO 1865 Flexible cellular polymeric materials. Determination of compression set. To measure the recovery of the foam after compression. Flexible cellular polymeric materials. Determination of compression set.
  • BS EN ISO 845 Cellular plastics and rubbers. Determination of apparent density. To show the parameters and variation of density within the foam.

Typical applications for different class foams

Class Type of Service Recommended Application
X Extremely severe Heavy duty contract seats Heavy duty public transport seats
V Very severe Public transport seats Cinema and theatre seats
Contract furniture seats
S Severe Private and commercial vehicle seats Domestic furniture seats Public transport backs and armrests
Cinema and theatre backs and armrests
Contract furniture backs and armrests
Domestic foam mattresses (cores)
A Average Private vehicle backs and armrests Domestic furniture backs and armrests
Component layers for domestic mattresses (excluding cores)
L Light Padding Scatter cushions

(Taken from BS 3379: 2005)

Further upholstery tests FIRA International can provide include:

  • BS 3173 Specification for spring units for mattresses. Spring testing to assess the suitability of springs for use in mattresses.
  • BS 1877-10 Domestic bedding. Specification for mattresses and bumpers for children’s cots, perambulators and similar domestic articles. Nursery mattress testing for General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR). This test includes textile and flammability requirements.
  • BS EN 16890 Children's furniture. Mattresses for cots and cribs. Safety requirements and test methods. (This standard partially supersedes BS 1877-10 and again enables the product to meet the GPSR).