Memory Foam Mattress Topper – The Technology
We look at the technology behind the memory foam mattress topper.
Although memory foam was originally developed by NASA it was never actually used in a spaceship because it wasn’t suitable to be used in a closed environment due to the chemicals it contained. However, the memory foam mattress was developed by the medical industry because its design meant it was a solution to pressure sores. The researchers obviously overcame the problem of chemical leakage, and now memory foam mattress toppers are considered the best product for anyone with an allergy, including asthma, because they are hypoallergenic.
How does it work?
Memory foam is different from ordinary foam because it doesn’t fight to spring back into shape. Instead it spreads, altering its shape depending on the weight and shape of load it is bearing. In a memory foam mattress topper this means that it moulds to the body’s shape, cushioning the torso. It’s also temperature sensitive, and so responds to body heat. In lower temperatures it is harder, and the warmer it gets, the softer it becomes. This is why it’s important to get the correct type of mattress cover – you need a cover that allows your body heat through the fabric.
Memory foam mattress toppers mould to your body shape, and help to support your spine in the correct position while you sleep. Because the mattress cradles the body, joints are not subjected to undue pressure – if you are used to waking with stiff joints, you probably need a memory foam mattress topper. They are also recommended for people who may be bed-bound for any length of time because they help to prevent bed sores.
In the early 1970’s, NASA’s Ames Research Centre funded a development project designed to create a substance that could help relieve astronauts of the incredible g-forces experienced during lift-off. They believed that one of the key secrets to reducing g-forces on the body was to use a foam material that could conform to each person’s shape and hold this conformity. They created a new foam that was visco-elastic and therefore able to conform to a person’s shape, but then come back to a normal shape once pressure was removed from the foam. This could allow an even distribution of pressure or body weight over the entire surface of the foam, but quickly adapt to any movements of the body. Thus the memory foam mattress topper was born.
What’s that smell?
Memory foam mattress toppers can emit a strong smell when they are brand new, but this is non-toxic and should disappear within a few days. A natural way to get rid of odours is to place a dish of vinegar in the room – it will ‘eat’ the smell.