What is Visco Elastic Memory Foam

January 29, 2021

Visco Elastic Foam (also known as memory foam) is a man-made substance that reacts to body temperature and weight. It conforms to the shape of your body. NASA developed this foam to counteract the extreme forces faced by astronauts.

Hand hovering over imprint in memory foam

Read more about the best memory foam mattresses.

Benefits of Memory Foam

In short, this comfort material boasts the following benefits:

  • Excellent contouring and pressure relief

  • Very durable, increases comfort life

  • Great at dampening motion between sleeping partners

  • Resistant to microorganisms and allergens

Visco Foam is resistant to bacteria, mold, mildew, dust mites, and other odor-causing germs. This makes it a great option for those with sensitivities or allergies. Visco Foam is also effective at reducing motion transfer, which is perfect for those who share a bed.

If your partner is a restless sleeper, Visco Foam reduces the amount of movement that transfers through the mattress. So, your partner won't disturb you with their movements throughout the night or in the morning.

Visco Elastic Foam mattresses tend to last longer than a classic innerspring because the material is very durable. They also provide more pressure relief than classic comfort materials like cotton padding.


There are a few disadvantages with this material, though some have been solved over the years. One problem that comes up often is the tendency to overheat. Traditional memory foam is not very breathable and ended up making sleepers too warm throughout the night.

Now, manufacturers will combine it with temperature-regulating materials to provide a cooler experience. Everything from gel to copper is used, and some beds have gotten extremely good at cooling.

Some people dislike the feeling that they're sinking into the bed, often referred to as the 'quicksand feeling'. To get the awesome pressure relief without that, you can buy a gel memory foam bed, which has a denser feel. There are also hybrid mattresses, which have a coil system beneath layers of memory foam. You can even just add a memory foam topper to your mattress.

The Feel

Visco Foam comes in a range of comfort levels, from very dense to cloud-like soft. Visco Elastic Foam is designed to mold and contour to the curves of the body. It disperses your weight over the entire sleep surface, minimizing pressure points for a more comfortable sleep.

How It Works

Visco memory foam has microscopic memory pockets that react to temperature and weight. Heat and pressure cause the foam to become malleable and contour to the curves of your body. When the material cools it returns back to its original shape.

Read how two top industry Visco Elastic Memory Foam Mattresses perform head to head in our Purple vs Ghostbed Mattress Review.

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Different Types of Visco Elastic Memory Foam

Since its invention nearly 50 years ago, there have been several advances in Visco Elastic Memory Foam technology. There are quite a few variations on the original foam from NASA.

One example that's been mentioned already is gel memory foam, a combination of memory foam and gel. It delivers enhanced pressure relief and durability to a mattress. The gel can also aid in regulating the temperature.

Many mattress manufacturers have also combined Visco Foam with other temperature-regulating materials. These materials help provide enhanced cooling comfort. Open-cell memory foam was also made for the purpose of reducing heat retention. It's more breathable, so the airflow removes excess heat and moisture.

There are different densities of viscoelastic foam, which affects the durability and firmness. Higher-density foams will be firmer and more durable, while low-density foams are softer and don't last as long.

This is important information when determining how different body weights will work with memory foam. Heavier people will want something on the denser side so they don't sink in too far. Meanwhile, smaller people may want a less dense foam that will allow them to feel more pressure relief.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Visco Elastic Memory Foam toxic?
    Many people ask, "is visco elastic memory foam safe?" This may come up simply because it's a man-made material or because they experience off-gassing. There can be a funny smell with new memory foam mattresses, but it should dissipate quickly and is not unsafe.

    Most mattress brands get their foam certified by CertiPUR-US®. They're a non-profit organization with a certification process for foams that pass their environmental and safety standards.

  2. What's the difference between Visco Elastic Memory Foam vs polyurethane foams?
    There are different types of memory foam and other types of comfort foam. Memory foam can be defined as a type of polyurethane (PU) foam. It has additional components that give it a different feel.

    More traditional PU foam has a springier feel than memory foam. It has a lower density, and it also tends to be cheaper. The lower density means that polyurethane foam does not last as long.

    Memory foam reacts to your body heat to form around your curves. It'll hold that shape for a short time after the pressure is released.

  3. Does Visco Elastic Memory Foam vary in quality?
    All reputable manufacturers produce foam products that are at least 5lb/ft³ in density. All the memory foam mattresses, mattress pads, and pillows at US-Mattress are of the highest quality.

    Beware of the cheaper Visco Elastic Memory Foam beds you may find. Make sure to check the product information. Foams that are below this level of density won't last quite as long or provide the best pressure relief.

At US-Mattress, we offer a 120-night trial and free shipping so you can try beds risk-free!

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Read about a top memory foam mattress in our Casper Mattress Review.

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