Memory Foam | Why Is It Called Visco-Elastic?

What Does Visco-Elastic Mean When Associated With Memory Foam?

When researching Memory Foam and its product benefits, the term visco-elastic always comes up but how many of us actually understand what it means? Memory Foam is often referred to as a visco-elastic material because of the way it is constructed.  In this post we will uncover the true meaning of visco-elastic so we will no longer feel baffled by the term.

“Viscoelasticity is the property of materials that exhibit both viscous and elastic characteristics when undergoing deformation. Viscous materials, like honey, resist shear flow and strain linearly with time when a stress is applied.” – Wikipedia Definition 


Memory Foam is constructed using a combination of materials. These materials work together to increase the foam’s ability to react to the body’s shape (a form of viscosity) together with its ability to spring back into shape once a body weight and in other instances body heat is removed – its elasticity – hence visco-elastic.

This is quite interesting to understand as it is now becoming more common knowledge that Memory Foam moulds to the body shape as it reacts to stresses from body weight and body heat.

How Visco-Elastic Material Works

To test how memory foam works you can press your hand into the mattress for a few seconds and the reaction of the visco elements of the memory foam can be clearly seen – your hand will leave a print in the mattress.  Once your hand has been removed it is the turn of the elastic elements of the memory foam – you can see the palm print disappear as the mattress springs back to its original shape.  If you think about memory foam in this way it is clear why it is perfect for mattresses – the moulding process begins as soon as you get into bed, continuing through body heat and as soon as you arise the elasticity springs the mattress back to its original shape.  Quite amazing!