Understanding the differences between PE and EVA foam

By Richard at Metro Foam / April 2024

In this article, I will explore the differences between PE (Polyethylene) and EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) foam and provide guidance on choosing the appropriate product for your project.

PE and EVA share most properties, with polyethylene as the primary ingredient. EVA is a compound that adds vinyl acetate to the polyethylene base. This modification introduces rubbery elasticity in the EVA foam.

The most significant difference lies in resilience, with EVA foam returning to its original shape more effectively after compression. Although EVA foam is typically more expensive, especially if it contains a healthy dose of vinyl acetate, it can be the best choice to withstand frequent compression without losing shape.

Consider EVA foam for footwear, sports equipment, yoga mats and seat padding.

PE foam offers a cost-effective alternative that maintains high quality and durability. It can also be easier to cut and shape. For example, PE foam is the right choice for cutting complicated foam inserts for toolbox layouts.

PE Foam for tool control
Routed PE foam profiles for tool control

Use PE foam for packaging, impact cushioning, insulation, and sealing.

PE and EVA foam are available in various densities with increased firmness and weight as density increases.

“Closed cell” refers to the structure of foam. The cells are tightly packed and do not share internal space with neighbouring cells, making the foam impermeable to liquids and gases.

Besides its structural properties, the foam’s ability to trap air makes it an excellent insulator and barrier against heat transfer. Industries that use PE and EVA closed-cell foam include construction, marine, HVAC, and automotive.

Metro Foam’s PE and EVA products are known for their quality and durability, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. Despite being in the closed-cell foam business for many years, I’m often pleasantly surprised by the innovative ways in which our clients use PE or EVA foam in their projects. Whether in marine and industrial settings, sporting goods, or high-end packaging, PE or EVA foam is often the material of choice.

If you’re considering using closed-cell foam for your project, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I welcome the opportunity to recommend products suitable for your needs and offer physical samples.

A final note: Some people mistakenly refer to any closed-cell plastic foam as “EVA foam”, even though it may actually be PE foam.

Metro Foam is on-site at Wetherill Park on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until 3:00 PM. Get in touch any weekday by telephone and email.