PORON® urethane is an open cell foam used in the development of gaskets, protective gear, footwear, and even within parts of the Hubble Space Telescope. The flexible material is commonly chosen for its cushioning, padding, compression, and sealing properties.
The development of PORON
PORON urethane is fabricated by repeatedly casting and curing formulated chemicals until an ideal thickness is reached. Thicknesses can be varied by the casting and curing process, producing a final product between 0.012 inches and 0.500 inches.
One of the reasons PORON was created is for its compression set resistance, as well as to solve common equipment issues, such as inadequate sealing and cushioning.
Characteristics of PORON
- Lower compression set
- Impact and vibration absorption
- Varied levels of thickness
- Smooth outer layer
- Lower outgassing
- Temperature flexibility
- Chemical resistance
- Simple to manufacture and process
- Works with a range of adhesives
Many manufacturers and engineers use PORON in products in order to better cushion, pad, and seal components that would otherwise become damaged. Common products include:
- Protective gear
- Communication equipment
Hubble Space Telescope
One of the bigger achievements of PORON is the use in components of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, a 43-foot-long observational telescope operating in low Earth orbit.
The Hubble telescope was designed and developed by engineers from several organizations, including the Marshall Space Flight Center and Lockheed. When launched in 1990, it was one of the largest and most versatile space telescopes in orbit and has been successful in numerous scientific discoveries.
PORON is used on the Hubble telescope supplementing brackets, enclosures, and door gaskets in order to keep a tight environmental seal. The Hubble telescope is expected to last through 2040 and possibly even longer.