If you’ve ever spent a few minutes scrolling through social media in the past year, chances are good that you’ve seen at least one video of people shooting pu foam out of a plastic tube. These videos are fun and hilarious, but they’re also usually accompanied by some serious questions in the comments section. The most common ones: What is pu foam? Is it safe? Where can I buy some? If you’re wondering about any of these things, I’ve got answers for you!
What is pu foam?
Pu foam is a type of polyurethane foam that’s formed from two components: a resin and a catalyst. The resins are the base materials, which become rigid after polymerization and hardening. They can be monofunctional or multifunctional, depending on the desired application.
The catalysts are added to help speed up the reaction time between the resins and create more bubbles in your final product.
What can you do with pu foam?
You can use pu foam to make videos, costumes, props, art and toys.
How does it work?
Polyurethane foams are polymers that can be molded into whatever shape you want. They’re mostly used for bedding, pillows and mattresses, but when you break down the chemistry behind them it’s pretty amazing.
A polymer is a molecule made up of repeating units that are linked together in a chain-like structure. Think about how many plastic products use polymers like polypropylene or polyethylene: the material may look different depending on the number of repeating units (polymerization) but they all have similar properties because they are all made up of similar chemicals joined together in chains. When these chains form bonds with other chemicals it creates a foam that can be molded in any way you choose!
Now that we have some background information let’s dive right into our first example video:
Has anyone ever died? Where can I buy some?
Pu foam is not a threat to your life, but it can be a threat to your nose. While it’s true that pu foam has never resulted in the death of anyone, it still might make you sick if you breathe too much of it in. The best way to avoid this is by wearing a mask when you’re removing blocks of pu foam from their packaging and using them for cleaning purposes.
If you really want some pu foam for yourself, there are plenty of ways that you can make your own at home with ingredients from any grocery store or pharmacy:
- Mix equal parts water and baking soda
- Add food coloring until desired color is achieved (start small!)
- Pour into molds or empty cans for easier storage and handling
Learn how these hilarious videos are made!
Let’s get one thing straight: Pu foam is not dangerous. It isn’t toxic, flammable, or a fire hazard—and it definitely isn’t a health hazard. If you’ve been wondering how those hilarious videos of pu foam exploding were made, you’re in luck! Here are the answers to all your questions about this crazy stuff.
The next time you see one of those funny videos of someone jumping into pu foam, now you know more about how it all works. And if it’s not a video, but real life pu foam in your face, this article taught you the science behind why it happens. You should be able to figure out what kind of chemical reaction produced that gigantic pile of bubbles! The first step is always knowing where the chemistry is coming from, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.