Modeling of flexible polyurethane foam shrinkage for bra cup moulding process control

Long Wu, Kit Lun Yick, Sunpui Ng, Yue Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Nowadays, moulding technology has become a remarkable manufacturing process in the intimate apparel industry. Polyurethane (PU) foam sheets are used to mould three-dimensional (3D) seamless bra cups of various softness and shapes, which eliminate bulky seams and reduce production costs. However, it has been challenging to accurately and effectively control the moulding process and bra cup thickness. In this study, the theoretical mechanism of heat transfer and the thermal conductivity of PU foams are first examined. Experimental studies are carried out to investigate the changes in foam materials at various moulding conditions (viz., temperatures, and lengths of dwell time) in terms of surfacemorphology and thickness by using electron and opticalmicroscopy. Based on the theoretical and experimental investigations of the thermal conductivity of the foam materials, empirical equations of shrinkage ratio and thermal conduction of foam materials were established. A regression model to predict flexible PU foam shrinkage during the bra cup moulding process was formulated by using the Levenberg-Marquardt method of nonlinear least squares algorithm and verified for accuracy. This study therefore provides an effective approach that optimizes control of the bra cup moulding process and assures the ultimate quality and thickness of moulded foam cups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number472
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2018


  • Bra cup moulding
  • Polyurethane foams
  • Process control
  • Shrinkage
  • Thermal conductivity


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