NASA’s Invention Of Memory Foam

memory foam

The highly acclaimed memory foam composition.

Did you know that the memory foam material that we’re so accustomed to using in most of our mattresses and pillows today had actually originated from NASA? Its invention of a polyurethane foam that’s been customized to a different level of density¬†and viscosity had stood out in such a way that it becomes viscoelastic. This means that this memory foam material, which was originally used in the seats of airline pilots but which have been extended to passenger seats as well, has the inherent ability to form back into its original shape once the weight upon it has been lifted.

NASA research center

One of NASA’s field centers at Ames.

NASA’s research center originally planned for the use of memory foam in the improvement of the safety of airline cushions. Although this invention was later commercialized and included in various multiple applications since the 1960s, its widespread application in bedding products like mattresses and pillows only started in the late 80s. Hospital and wheelchair cushions are similarly using this unique form of technology for both comfort and safety purposes.

Memory foam mattresses and pillows nowadays are easily one of the most, if not most, popular types currently available. Of course, because memory foam itself has been tempered with over time to improve on its comfort and utility, there are differing levels of firmness or density, which are measured using the IFD (indentation force deflection) scale. Bedding structures have never been the same again and will likely be significantly improved further thanks to a simple, yet unimaginable side project of NASA.