View Full Version : Colored Ethafoam

El Taco Rey
03-07-2012, 02:10 PM
We began a clothing re-housing project a few years back making padded hangers out of stockinette covered pool noodles. These were white ethafoam 3" in diameter cylinders that were custom cut and carved to fit the shoulders. I'm now finding it impossible to locate white pool noodles- but colored ones are readily available. Are there conservation concerns using colored ethafoam?
Dave Ryan

T. Ashley McGrew
03-07-2012, 03:15 PM
Hi Dave,
My understanding is that there are conservation concerns with any material that hasn't been adequately tested. Even polyethylene foams from reputable manufacturers can fail Oddy tests. A while back I know of one museum that tested a number of colored PE foams and very few passed tests. Pool noodles in particular are made by companies whose first concerns are not the materials archival properties. More likely they are using the cheapest source of PE pellets from whatever supplier in whatever country that they can find at any given time which means that even if you have a "noodle" tested the results only reflect the characteristics of that "run" of extrusions.
My question would be if it is covered with stockinette does it really need to be white? For some reason common grey backer rod seems to consistently pass Oddy tests. The characteristic curl that the material has from being in roll form might actually be an advantage in your application (where it is kind of a pain for use in textile folds). A very similar material - polyethylene pipe insulation doesn't seem to be as consistent. On a recent museum rehousing project we tested four different kinds of pipe insulation purchased from McMaster Carr and only one passed - unfortunately it wasn't the white one. In another example - a well-known supplier of polyethylene extrusions provided samples of beautiful thick white backer rod and it failed tests as well. Sorry to be so discouraging but the real solution seems to be the cliché - get what you can find and have it tested and then buy what you think you will need for a long time because buying from the same source a month later you are likely to be buying something else entirely. Good luck!


El Taco Rey
03-07-2012, 03:40 PM
Thanks Ashley,
Found a source for 3" backer rod. Thanks for the suggestion.
Dave Ryan

03-14-2012, 12:59 PM
Care to share that? I'm often looking for foam tubes for use in mannequins as well as for storage needs.


El Taco Rey
03-14-2012, 01:09 PM
Hi Jim,
I got it from www.bestmaterials.com (http://www.bestmaterials.com) Very fast service- got it within a couple days. They are out of Phoenix.