What is IMPAXX™ Polystyrene Foam?

IMPAXX™ is a highly engineered, extruded polystyrene foam manufactured to maximize efficiency and minimize weight. Providing higher efficiency and improved safety performance than other EA countermeasures, IMPAXX™ foam also minimizes weight and packaging space requirements.  In addition, it supports better safety ratings, requirement compliance, design flexibility and passenger comfort at cost-competitive prices.  Compared to competing EA products, IMPAXX™ foam offers:

  • Stable impact response along the operative temperature range
  • Low development time and cost
  • Minimum production lead time
  • Tooling elimination
  • Higher efficiency and NCAP rating





  • Headliner and pillar trims
  • Front and rear doors
  • Steering column and lower instrument panel
  • Under carpet
  • Bumper systems
  • Headrest

Product Advantages and ROI:


  • Lower densities of IMPAXX™ foam achieve the same performance as higher densities of expanded polypropylene bead foams (EPP), polyurethane foams (PU) and thermoformed plastic parts
  • Increased packaging space for occupant comfort
  • Faster and lower-cost development/validation for production parts via correlated CAE models and prototypes
  • Parts are precision cut into simple shapes, lowering part costs and eliminating the need for tooling
  • Consistent performance at temperature extremes
  • Minimal variation in impact tests, eliminating the need to design safety margins in tight packaging space
  • Parts are cut with tight tolerances to exacting standards
  • Fast cycle times enable quick production of large batches of parts
  • Fit with conventional and advantaged assembly methods

IMPAXX™ Foam Static Compression Response

IMPAXX™ foam is up to 30 percent more efficient than competing energy absorbing products. The Square Wave Compression Curve of IMPAXX™ is desirable because material starts absorbing energy quickly during the impact event. IMPAXX™ provides uniform absorption of energy up to 70% of the strain. This performance advantage decreases the required packaging space, providing more interior space for the vehicle occupant.

Significant Weight Reduction

IMPAXX™ foam is up to 50 percent lighter than other EA materials. Lower densities of IMPAXX™ foam achieve the same performance as higher densities of EPP bead foams and PU foams.

Effect of Temperature on Compression at 25% Strain

IMPAXX™ foam exhibits stable temperature performance across curtain air bag deployment test conditions and performs consistently at temperature extremes, while the performance of competitive materials can vary as temperatures change.


Awards and Testimonials


"IMPAXX foam has significantly raised the level of safety in NASCAR. "Recently, we had a situation at the Talladega Super Speedway where the Burger King Toyota Camry was hit by a car in the driver's side door, and then our car hit the wall," Reutimann explained. "It happened simultaneously. It was like a double impact. The hit was so hard; I didn't think we could continue. The way the foam absorbed everything was pretty amazing and I felt fine after the accident."

David Reutimann

"Our team at the NASCAR R&D Center went to great lengths to study ways in which energy can be absorbed during impacts on the race track and the IMPAXX energy foam developed by Dow Automotive is what we found worked the best. The IMPAXX foam has performed extremely well in protecting our drivers and has proven to be a highly effective safety feature that NASCAR plans to incorporate further in our sport."

Robin Pemberton
NASCAR Vice President of Competition

"The car, equipped with Impaxx, hit the wall at 200 mph and rolled over eight times. McDowell walked away, got into a backup car and qualified for the Samsung 500 race"

James Treece
Automotive News

"I feel that the car is safer from a structural standpoint with the added foam and the things they have done to protect drivers during side impacts and angular impacts"

Ryan Newman