By ; Trevor, Brody, And Emily
Why did NASA make memory foam?
Memory foam, also known as temper foam, was developed under a NASA contract in the 1970's that set out to improve seat cushioning and crash protection for airline pilots and passengers. Memory foam has widespread commercial applications, in addition to the popular mattresses and pillows. Memory foam was developed in 1966 under a contract by NASA's Ames Research Center to improve the safety of aircraft cushions. Ames Scientist Chiharu Kubokawa and Charles A. Yost of the Stencel Aero Engineering Corporation were major contributors to this project. The Temper-Sensitive memory foam was initially referred to as "slow spring back foam" ; Yost called it "temper foam." Created by feeding gas into a polymer matrix , the foam has an open-cell solid structure that matches pressure against it, yet slowly springs back to its original shape. When NASA released memory foam to the public domain in the early 1980's, Fagerdala World Foams was one of the few companies willing to work with the foam, as the manufacturing process remained difficult and unreliable. Their 1991 product, the "Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress" eventually led to the mattress and cushion company, Tempur World. It wasn't made for a specific mission, it was made to improve the comfort of the seats, and to improve the safety of G-Force pressures and re-entry during space missions.