The definition of “hydrophilic” is: having a tendency to mix with, dissolve in, or be wetted by water. When you bring that definition over into the foam plastics world, then it simply means a foam that can be used to absorb liquids.
Isn’t that the definition of a sponge? Sure, but hydrophilic foams go a step further than most sponges in that they attempt to hold a liquid more readily or stably than standard sponge materials.
At Hibco, we have used hydrophilic foams to produce everything from household cleaning products, like mop heads, and medical applications, to jobsite erosion support, and contaminant absorption. In all instances, the end result is a product used for soaking up a liquid to either hold it to keep from further spreading, or to soak it up and remove it.
In order to determine the hydrophilicity of foam, it must go through a series of tests that measure wet-out speed, water pickup, and swell characteristics.
- The wet-out test involves the placement of water on the surface of the foam and observing the time required for the water to penetrate the sample.
- Water pickup tests evaluate weight gain for immersed and compressed foam samples.
- Swell is determined by pre and post dimensions of the water pickup samples.
Hibco has been on the innovation forefront in creating new applications, including soaking up oil and other contaminants from water using hydrophilic foam. And if that was enough, we’re also creating different products that repel liquids in the form of “hydrophobic foams.”
In addition to developing custom hydrophilic foam, we also produce oil boom foam cores that help with the containment of oil if a spill is to occur. We also manufacture floatation foam for oil containment and erosion sleeves. We offer round foam core that ranges from 1″ up to 6″ in diameter as an extruded log. And to take it a step further, we now offer fabricated oil booms from 7″ in diameter up to 12″. That is a newer offering that had not been readily available in the marketplace until now. This is just one more example of how Hibco works closely with vendors and clients to fill needs in the marketplace.
We encourage you to Let Your Ideas Take Shape with Hibco Foam Plastics, so if you’re looking for a new way of using hydrophilic foam, contact us!