What Chemicals Are Needed to Make Foam Latex?

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Much of Hollywood Magic is created using foam latex. Masks, puppets and other costume accessories are only a few of the uses for foam latex. In addition, foam latex can be used to make mattress pads. If you are interested in making foam latex, you need to know which chemicals are used and in what proportion.

How To Make Foam Latex

Foam latex is relatively simply to make (provided you have the right ingredients). Typically, four chemicals are needed to make foam latex: liquid latex, a foaming agent, a gel agent, and a cure agent. Batches are typically made in a standard-sized bowl-mixer that is used to make various food items such as cake. Each of the chemicals can be purchased at various arts and crafts stores as well as stores specializing in special effects and plastics.

To begin the foam latex process, start with your base: liquid latex. Liquid latex is made of natural latex (which is the sap from rubber trees). Often times, a very small amount of ammonia is added to the natural latex to use as a stabilizing agent. You will need 150 grams of liquid latex to make one standard batch. Add to this 30 grams of the foaming agent, 16 grams of the gel agent, and 10 ounces of the cure agent. The foaming agent is made up of chemicals used to make liquid soaps as well as some plastisizers. For the gel agent, typically this is made of such material as pectin (a natural geling agent found in many fruits). The cure agent is made of sulphur, antioxidants, and antiozonants. Once these chemicals are combined, mix them together until the mixture is thick. It is important to note that precise mixing times are something of a trade secret among foam latex makers. Experiment with various batches to nail a precise mixing time down.

If desired, during the mixing process, coloring agents can be added. Typically, simply food coloring is used. Keep in mind that if you use a coloring agent, the entire batch will be that color; this can make painting or decorating the foam latex difficult if you use a dark color.

Finally, once the mixture is made, it can be poured into a mold and baked. Bake the mixture in an oven set at 100 degrees Celsius, or 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The baking time can take hours. Just as with the mixing time, precise baking time is a closely guarded secret. Check on the mixture periodically for desired thickness.

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