Selecting Your Acoustic Foam

Acoustic foams come in many shapes and sizes.   They are typically cut into squares or rectangles because its easier to ship the material that way.   Rolled forms of foam typically are flat foams with no convolute cut into the face of the material.   But flat foam won’t absorb as much sound, because scultped foam has more surface space exposure, meaning it captures more sound waves per square foot than flat foams will.  The V-Cuts shown here cut into 2’x2′ squares, which each square rotated 90 degrees to create the parquet look.  

The grooves that are cut into convoluted foams can vary per supplier, so buyer beware.   It’s difficult to illustrate here, but the deeper the cut into the face of the material is, the less material it takes to create a panel, and the less effective the panel is at absorbing echoes.   For those surfing the internet looking for foam suppliers, this one aspect is difficult to measure online.   Be sure that there is a minimum of a 3/4″ thickness at the base of the convolute to maintain integrity in the panel performance and the sound values you are seeking.

In addition to the V-Cuts, there are egg carton cuts of foam, but again, buyer beware.   Because of the way that egg carton cuts of foam are convoluted, the bases and tips of each subsequent panel will not align evenly as you place them on your walls or ceiling to absorb echo.   In industrial applications where aesthetics are less important, no big deal.   But in an audio setting, or most commercial spaces, the visual impact of the panels is important, and the egg carton style should not be selected.   NetWell’s egg carton cut of foam are called Wedges.  

One final note on foams.   They are typically less expensive than cloth wrapped panels, which makes foam more popular for many segments of our client base, but there are two versions of foam.   Polyurethane foam is not class A fire rated, while melamine foam is.   If you are a school, church, hospital, restuarant, or other commercial venue, you will need melamine foam.   Not all suppliers offer it, be sure to ask for it.   If, on the other hand, you are a drummer in a garage band, a recording or broadcast studio, or an industrial plant, polyurethane foams are typically the more popular choice as they are less costly, so long as they are not placed near open flames.

For help on your foam selection, call NetWell’s help desk at 1-800-638-9355!  To Your Sound Success!


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