Skip to content
Free shipping over R1,000
Free shipping over R1,000


What is the difference between Styrofoam and Acoustic foam?

On your journey towards understanding soundproofing, sound absorption, and sound treatment, you have probably found yourself wondering and researching what are the different materials that can be used for this purpose.. Perhaps in your research, you have come across Styrofoam and acoustic foam, and you may be wondering what these materials are and how effective they are.

Well, we are here to provide you with all you need to know about these two materials.

What is acoustic foam?

Acoustic foam is made from a material known as open-cell polyurethane. Open-cell polyurethane is made up of small little bubble-type cells that are not closed but are rather slightly opened which allows for air to fill the space of the bubble. In the case of sound treatment, the sound wave is what will fill these bubbles.

As an example, if you imagine a sponge as the open-cell polyurethane, and water as the sound wave, the sponge captures water, but once the water is squeezed out, the sponge goes back to its original form which is void of water.

On the other hand, closed-cell foam has no space within the bubble for soundwaves to enter as the cells are densely packed together. Air cannot penetrate the surface of closed-cell foam.

The open-cell polyurethane is less dense and more flexible. Because the cells are open, it is easy to compress this material with the assurance that it will return to its original shape making it all the easier for Hush Echo to ship to you.

What is Styrofoam?

Styrofoam is made from polystyrene which is a synthetic resin material that you may find encompassing your deliveries and packages. It is a petroleum-based plastic that, much like fibreglass, is commonly used as an insulator, and is lightweight.

Much like acoustic foam, it also has a closed-cell and open-cell composition and generally has the same properties as open and closed-cell acoustic foam when looked at in terms of the sponge and water example mentioned above.

This means that the open-cell Styrofoam is lightweight but instead of sound or air being absorbed, it actually passes through the material.

Polystyrene is also combustible, meaning that it does not fare well against fire.

What’s the difference between Styrofoam and acoustic foam?

While the general structure and physical properties of these two materials may be extremely similar in terms of the cell structure and the weight of the materials, they differ in the fundamental material composition.

Their molecular composition is what creates the most notable difference between these two materials, especially in terms of acoustic treatment.

But because of these stark similarities between these two materials, it may lead you into thinking that both materials are equally effective in providing sound treatment. But this is not true.  

Which material is best used for sound treatment?

Given that acoustic foam reduces reverb and echo, enhances the overall acoustics in a room, absorbs multi-frequency noises, and exhibits noticeable sound enhancement properties, it is designed for sound absorption and sound treatment.

On the other hand, while Styrofoam may reduce acoustic and sound disturbances, on its own, it doesn’t provide an effective sound treatment solution. It usually needs to be paired with a heavier and denser material for its effects to be enhanced, but this ultimately adds to the materials that you would need to purchase to achieve optimal acoustics enhanced sound.

So, dispose of the polystyrene packaging that you received in your last delivery, and stick to the material that is going to provide you with a noticeable sound treatment solution. Choosing the best sound absorption foam can be tricky at times and if you are still unsure, we have a written a comprehensive guide on it and if that is not enough, you can contact us for more information. 

Previous article Why You Need to Soundproof Your Doors and Windows
Next article What Are Echo and Reverb?

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare