This foam is called NASA foam, visco elastic foam and a few other names but it’s all derived from the original foam that was developed for the NASA manned space flight program.
As far as my research goes, I don’t think any of this foam actually made it’s way into a space craft. It turned out to not be suited for space flight.
A Swedish foam company began experimenting with the foam and finally came up with a version of it that was suitable for mattresses.
You can judge the quality of memory foam
- by it’s density
- where the foam is made
- the ILD of the foam
- whether or not it’s temperature sensitive
If you cut a piece of memory foam into a 12″ cube and weigh it, you’ll know the density.
If the foam weighs 5 lbs. per cubic foot, it’s called 5 lb. density and 4 lbs. per cubic foot would be 4 lb. density.
This is important because the most ideal foam for mang pe supporting the human body is 5 lb. and above. 4 lb. density is supportive but anything below 4 lb. is considered to be unfit for use in a mattress.
Lesser density foam mattress products won’t last as long as the denser versions so a 4 lb. foam mattress usually has a 10 year warranty while the 5 lb. mattresses usually have a 20 year warranty.
It might be noted that I found the most well known brand that starts with a “T” to be 5.3 lb. density for most of their mattress products.
Country of Manufacture
American made foams are manufactured to stringent requirements while foam from China or elsewhere can be made using toxic chemicals that could be unhealthy.
Chinese foam is notorious for off-gassing and producing pungent odors that might last for months. It’s kind of like sleeping on Parmesan cheese.
I don’t think that’s the recipe for the best memory foam mattress.
You need to ask carefully if the foam is made in America because many manufacturers state “Made in America” but neglect to tell you that they get their foam and other raw materials from China.
ILD of the Foam
ILD is the measure of firmness of memory foam and it normally ranges from 8 to 20 for mattress foam.
An ILD of 8 would be too soft for most people while 20 would be too firm.
Most manufacturers stay in the 10 to 17 range.
I think the big “T” company uses and ILD of 14 for their 10″ DeluxeBed(TM) so that would give you something to consider when deciding your preference.
The characteristic most well known about the best memory foam mattress is it’s ability of soften under you as it absorbs the heat from your body.
This fine tuning is important to get the maximum enjoyment from your memory foam mattress.
There have been some manufacturers who claim temperature sensitivity for their foam but it requires extreme temperatures to affect the foam.
You want to make sure the foam will soften when it absorbs the temperatures that are normally associated with the human body.
You can determine this by lying down on a mattress in the store for 5 to 10 minutes and then checking to see if the foam is softer under your body than it is outside the area where you are laying.