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What Is EVA Foam? How Do You Choose Which Foam to Use?

By August 25, 2020 September 14th, 2020 No Comments
A woman does push-ups on an exercise mat.

What is EVA foam? How does it differ from other types of rigid foams, such as PVC foam? Today in the Polymershapes Blog, that’s exactly what we’re exploring. Let’s take a look at three key questions to help you choose the right material for your needs:

  • What is PVC foam?
  • What is EVA foam?
  • How should you choose between them for your foam fabrication project?

What Is PVC Foam?

First, let’s look at PVC foam. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is one of the world’s most popular plastics. One of its many derivatives is PVC foam board. (A “foam” is simply a material with small bubbles introduced into its structure.)

PVC foam is strong, rigid, and durable, and the bubbles also make it lightweight. It comes in a variety of densities, but on the whole is much lighter than solid PVC. Some of the most popular applications for PVC foam fabrication include:

  • Indoor & outdoor signage
  • Point of purchase (POP) displays
  • Freestanding cutouts
  • Dimensional lettering
  • As a substrate for printing, lamination, etc.
  • As a core material in watercraft and even some aircraft
  • As a material for prototypes or mockups

At Polymershapes, we offer a variety of PVC foam fabrication services. This material is especially popular for exhibitions and retail displays, but we get orders for many other types of applications as well.

Benefits of PVC Foam

Besides its versatility, PVC foam offers several other benefits, including:

  • Highly workable; easy to cut, bond, and fasten
  • Able to be thermoformed
  • Naturally has a matte finish, but can be made with any finish desired
  • Strongly resistant to organic solvents

Marine Industry Origins

In addition, PVC foam is highly resistant to water, wind, salt, temperature, and sunlight. This makes it highly suitable for outdoor use, particularly in marine applications.

In fact, PVC foam owes its origins to the sea. PVC was used to great effect in marine tools and equipment during World War II. After the war, the private sector deemed PVC too heavy. But since the other properties of PVC are so well-suited to marine applications, researchers set about to develop a lightweight version, eventually resulting in the invention of PVC foam board. What is PVC foam if not a testament to market innovation!

What Is EVA Foam?

If one of those applications for PVC foam isn’t right for your project, another option to consider is EVA foam. Ethylene vinyl acetate, or EVA, is a highly versatile plastic that has rubber-like properties and comes in a variety of textures. It can range from rigid to supple, and is one of several materials sometimes known as “foam rubber.”

EVA foam isn’t usually considered a direct alternative to PVC foam. Like PVC, EVA foam is very impressive in its versatility. What is EVA foam best used for? Here are just a few of its applications:

  • Bicycle seats
  • Exercise mats
  • Fishing rods
  • Running shoe midsoles
  • Cosplay components like belts and swords
  • Shock absorption padding

Let Polymershapes Help You Find the Right Material for Your Project

At Polymershapes, we can help you find the right materials for the job, whether that requires foam, aluminum, or nylon. We have 70+ years of experience delivering products that meet our customers’ needs, and we have the facilities to manufacture a wide variety of plastic products at a competitive price and with a fast turnaround.

To learn more about our plastic fabrication services right here in the Los Angeles area, contact us for a consultation. We’ll take your vision and project specifications, and help you find the ideal solution.

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