Noticed that Pheonix said to sunlover in May 2013 that LI uses fillers in their latex but Radium does not. I think it would be good info if this is put out to more buyers as many sites claim “no chemical fillers” but neglect to say they add natural fillers like ash, Chaulk, clay and others. I have asked many sellers these questions and they all get sheepish because no one ever seems to ask them the tough questions. The same goes for seams, as a lot of companies use seams in any size mattress larger than a twin. They of course don’t want to tell you this, and the companies that don’t use seams or any fillers are quick to point it out. Once you get by the obvious Dunlop Talalay questions, Ask the tougher questions for a better understanding of what is really out there.
Fillers aren’t always a “bad” thing and in some types or in some quantities can be used to improve the properties of foam materials (such as making them firmer in the case of latex) although of course they can also be used to lower the cost of production or can lower the quality of a material as well. The filler that LI uses is feldspar and it is added at about 17% (by weight) and the blend of natural to synthetic is about 30% / 70%. Part of the reason they add it is to lower the cost and part of the reason is to reinforce the cell walls of the latex and make it firmer and their “target” is to make a material that will perform well for the duration of a 20 year warranty but not “overproduce” the material which can add to the cost of manufacturing without enough potential benefit to justify the added cost. In other words it does have some negative effect on durability and a positive effect on performance in the amounts they use and has a positive effect on cost as well and while it may not be the “most durable” version of latex that they could produce … it is the most “cost effective” and it is still among the most durable of all the foam materials available.
The Graphite in the Graphite Talalay that they use in the PLB Prestige line is added at 7% and the blend of natural to synthetic rubber is about 35% / 65%. This is also used to reinforce the cell walls of the latex and adds to durability and also has “some” thermal conductive properties as well. The Graphite “plates” are added to the latex in powdered form and are anistropic which means that the properties are “directionally dependent” and it can be very flexible in one direction and reinforcing in another direction (especially with lower ILD’s). In this case both durability and performance is increased compared to having no filler at all.
I’m not so sure that glue seams in Talalay latex (either Radium or Latex International) would be an issue for most people because you can’t feel them and they don’t affect the performance of the mattress.
Sometimes this type of more technical information where it is difficult for a layperson that is unfamiliar with the specifics of latex compounding or manufacturing to know both the positive and negative tradeoffs that are involved can lead to information overwhelm or “paralysis by analysis” and leave them vulnerable to making choices for all the wrong reasons based on knowing only part of the picture that they have come to believe is accurate (either positive or negative) without the benefit of knowing the rest of the story. In many cases this can work against them making their best choice for their specific circumstances or application although of course each person may have specific criteria that are important to them for reasons that may not be as important to others.
Hi Phoenix, thanks for the update. On the LI 100% natural talalay mattresses they produce I wonder if they add anything to them, as a few companies I have seen advertise them with no added fillers. And your right about Information overload but I have a mattress with no seams and just feel its better than two pieces glued together. You have a great site here and very valuable to many people. Thanks again.
I believe that Feldspar is added to their 100% natural formulation as well but I’m not sure of the specific percentage or whether it’s the same as in the blend.
If you had a Talalay layer or core that was properly fabricated with two matching pieces glued together the only thing you would feel would be the difference in the type and firmness of the latex (which you may prefer) but the glue seams themselves wouldn’t (or at least “shouldn’t”) be detectable.