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What is the difference between open cell foam & closed cell foam?

As you research different types of foam you will often hear “open cell” or “closed cell” thrown around. Both types of foams have their place, but they most certainty are made for different applications.

All foam is made up of cells. The cells hold air. That is what gives foam its’ cushion. Open cell foam consists of cells that are all interconnected meaning air can travel freely through the foam. This can be seen with a household sponge. Because the cells are all connected, it allows water to be absorbed within the foam. (When submerged the air is replaced by water)

Closed cell foam on the other hand also has cells, but the cells are not interconnected. The air trapped in those cells cannot freely move between each other. This can easily be observed when swimming with a pool noodle you might find at a pool. Because the cells are all closed, water cannot absorb into the foam making this type of foam required for water applications.

Each foam has pros & cons. When it comes to cases we tend to choose the best foam for the job. If the foam is going to be deployed in wet environments or the gear going into the case could be oily, closed cell foams are the best choice as liquids will not be absorbed.

Alternatively if the foam is to be deployed in varying altitudes it is often wise to use open cell foam as the air pressure within the cells will remain consistent with the surrounding air pressure. Using closed cell foams in this situation could result in foam which changes shape due to expanding and contracting in various altitudes.

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Why is Anti-Static Foam Pink?

Anti-static foam is pink because of a pink additive that is introduced during the manufacturing process of the foam. The color pink is used because it is an industry standard and most other common foam applications don’t use pink. Therefore by using the color pink the foam is easily identified and not easily mixed with non-anti-static foam. When considering the importance of using anti-static foam in static sensitive applications, it is generally accepted the bright color of the foam can be overlooked because the trade off of having identifiable anti-static material far outweighs the awkward color of the material.

Using the color pink however is not a requirement or law, but rather a choice made by foam manufacturers. Although it may be difficult to find anti-static foam in a different color it doesn’t mean a different color such as black is not available. If you are working on a project that requires a decent amount of material in which you can meet minimum order requirements, you can purchase anti-static material made in any other color. Be warned however it is impossible to tell the difference between black anti-static foam and standard foam.

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What is Anti-Static Foam?

Protect sensitive equipment from static discharge
Protect sensitive equipment from static discharge

Anti-Static foam (also known as anti-stat foam) is a form of foam which has a chemical agent that will not create a static charge when rubbed against itself. The foam will allow static charges to pass through it in essence protecting your sensitive equipment & not passing the charge into your items. Anti-stat foam is dyed pink for visual identification & generally cannot be bought in other colors without a minimum volume order. Why pink? It has been like that since the beginning of time & no one really knows.

Remember this: when creating an anti-stat insert which will fit inside of a case to use anti-stat foam in the lid as well. People often forget this and will use regular convoluted foam in the lid rather than anti-static foam. This will defeat the purpose altogether of using anti-static foam in the base.

Now for the big question… Should you buy your foam insert with anti-static foam or not? Generally speaking if you are not sure then the answer is usually no. With that being said if you are not sure, but the foam is within your budget & you are putting sensitive electronic equipment in the case then go for it as it can’t hurt. You can learn further about different types of case foams here.

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What foam is best for guns?

Here at Case Club we do a lot of gun cases & often get asked which foam to go with. Obviously the answers depend on circumstances, but 90% of the time the best foam for gun cases is polyethylene (abbreviated PE) . Polyethylene is hands down the best for gun cases because unlike polyurethane, polyethylene is closed cell. What does that mean you ask? Closed cell foam prevents moisture from absorbing into it. Have you ever seen those foam noodles kids play with at pool parties? Notice that they don’t absorb water like a sponge would. The same can be true with the oils from your gun or the rain from the field. No matter how wet PE foam gets the liquid stays at the surface so it can be wiped clean.

On the other hand if you use open cell polyurethane it will get extremely gross over time. It will absorb moisture, oils, & cleaning solvents causing it to break down much quicker than PE. Hope that answers the question for all you gun lovers out there!

Case Club's closed cell polyethylene foam does NOT absorb water
Case Club’s closed cell polyethylene foam does NOT absorb water

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Where can you buy just the customizable foam for your Pelican Case & not the whole foam set?

Most Pelican Cases come with customizable foam. This foam can be customized to a specific item. What happens if the specific item changes to a different item or you accidentally messed up the foam?
Unfortunately Pelican does not sell just the pluck foam layers for their cases. They only sell the entire foam set (lid foam & base foam) most of which you don’t need.

I present to you our customizable foam page:
Measure the dimensions of the customizable foam sheet you need to replace & enter the dimensions on that page. From there you can easily order only the replacement customizable foam you need & save money not having to order the whole foam set. Generally it works best if you measure the customizable foam piece you already.