Latex: The Big Picture
What is latex? Latex is derived from the sap of the rubber tree. Basically, the sap is extracted and whipped with air to form a foam. At that point there are two main processes that will create the finished product, Dunlop and Talalay which we will discuss further. In contrast to a urethane foam, latex will retain its resilliency for a much longer period of time and is a much more natural product.
Dunlop or Talalay and Why?
The difference can be explained quite easily with an omlette metaphor. Let’s say we want to make an omlette quickly. We do not want to get out the mixer for whatever reason, so we take our eggs and break them into a bowl. Then we use a fork to beat them and the slightly uneven mixture is poured into the frying pan. While this method works, it will not produce the even textured omlette that the powered mixer could produce. This is akin to Dunlop latex.
Now let’s say that we have more time, and want a truly exquisite omlette. Same eggs, same frying pan, but this time we use the mixer and whip the eggs until we have a very homogenous mixture. This will produce a much better omlette. This is akin to Talalay latex.
Now, enough about omlettes, but that gives a very easily understood difference between the two types of latex. Dunlop latex tends to be uneven in consistency, which means from one side of the bed to the other, the density of the foam will vary. Talalay latex is a much more consistent product from end to end and can be made in a wide range of ILD’s or firmnesses.
The Talalay method produces the finest latex available.
The Talalay process steps:
- Liquid rubber whipped into a foam and poured into a mold.
- When closed the mold has rods that go through the foamed rubber.
- A vacuum is placed on the mold, which removes air bubbles/pockets and distributes the liquid rubber evenly through the mold.
- CO2 is run through the rods, freezing the foamed rubber and locking in the consistency.
- Heat sent through the rods, providing even temperature and yielding a consistent latex cores without air pockets or uneven firmnesses.
- Impact test results indicate an amazingly low loss of 2-8%.
- Latex International is the only North American supplier of latex. Besides Latex International, there are two other producers of Talalay latex in the world. One in England, and one in The Netherlands.
- Unlike some competing products, our Talalay products contain no fillers or extenders. Only the components needed to convert the material from a liquid to a solid that lasts are added: soap, ammonia, zinc oxide and sulfur. The ammonia evaporates and the soap and zinc oxide are washed out. The sulfur is needed to cure the product so that it bounces back after you sleep on it.
All Electropedic Latex Mattresses are TALALAY!
What is ILD and why should I care?
ILD: Indentation Load Deflection (ILD) is a measurement of latex foam firmness. ILD is measured by indenting (compressing) a foam sample 25 percent of its original height. The amount of force (in pounds) required to indent the foam is its 25 percent ILD measurement. The more force required, the firmer the foam. Flexible foam ILD measurements range from 10 pounds (super soft) to about 80 pounds (very firm).