Mattresses are made with a blend of natural and synthetic
materials or with entirely synthetic materials. They tend to come under one of
two main categories - sprung or foam. Mattresses are usually made to specific
sizes depending on the country they are being produced for. In the UK the most
common sizes are single, double, king size and super king size.
A mattress made with coils, or springs is the most common
form around today. They were first made over a hundred years ago and quickly
became the norm in households across the UK. They are made by selecting the
right 'bed' of coils or springs which are usually premade by another
manufacturer. The springs provide the support and come in a range of sizes
depending on the quality of the mattress. The number of coils varies from
around 250 - 1000+. As a general rule the higher the number of springs, the
more expensive the
mattress, although the gauge of the wire and the type of
coil both play major parts too. A thick layer of cotton is placed on top of the coils to
begin the process of adding comfort. Foam is then placed in layers and finished
with the topping and finally the cover is sewn around it all. The mattress is
then turned over and the same process is carried out on the other side so that
the mattress can be flipped, increasing its longevity.
Memory foam is a much newer invention and tends to
replace the older style foam mattresses. Memory foam was invented in the
sixties and used in space travel; it took until the 1990s for it to become
popular in households to be used in a mattress.
Memory foam is made from a visco-elastic polyurethrane which is created when two chemicals (polyol and
diisocyanate) are treated and mixed to become a urethrane (or plastic) known as
liquid polyurethrane. This liquid is then met with carbon dioxide which causes
it to form a foam. The foam is then heated to let the gas disappear and the
foam is ready to be used as a mattress.
On average we spend a third of our lives on a
mattresses so it's no wonder that the manufacturing process is complex and
thought out. There is a huge difference between the way a sprung mattress is
made and how a memory foam mattress is made.