Help me design a crazy mattress

So as i have stated in a previous thread, I wana design a concept mattress, but i would love the help of the internet for this task. The idea is hold no good idea back. Go crazy with the specs. Lets see what we can come up with. This is my idea so far.

Top layer (the part your skin would touch)

Silk and cashmere blend, tuffed with wool under it

Inside the Eurotop
| 1" natural latex (NR talalay) 24 ild, with ventilation holes
| .5" Insulator pad made from Mongolian horse hair
| 1.5" tall individually pocketed micro coil, double tempered Stainless steal. Should have 4000 total coils for a queen size.

The latex part will be plush to provide a softer area, while the micro coils will give a little more support.

Inside the mattress from top to bottom

I have not figured out yet what i want for the upper layers, so please, any suggestions would be appreciated!

Insulation material (directly above the coils) should be made of wool and have a sheepskin backing
Coil in coil system. inner coil should be 3/4 the height of the outer coil and be 14 Gauge, also individually wrapped as to not snag on the outer coil. . The otter coil should be 15 gauge and also be wrapped. Both should be twice tempered steel (should also contain a small amount of Titanium in the metal mixture for durability . All coils should be coated with Vulcan oil.
-The idea behind having the inner coil a smaller height is that when the mattress is depressed from the body weight, the heavier parts of the body will depress further into the mattress and will receive the extra support of the slightly firmer inner coil. This will help provide support to the areas that need it, while remaining plush for the areas that don’t, increasing comfortability.

Thats all i got so far. I would love to hear ideas to make it better.

Hi cheesepuff,

I think the first thing that is important to clarify is the design goal of the mattress. Is this being “designed” for you and your needs and preferences or for a certain group of people? Is this also something that you would want to actually construct at some point (in which case you would need sources of the materials that you are considering) or is it just an exercise into the theory of different materials and layering and how they may interact with either you or your target market. Either way it could be interesting but they would be very different approaches because if you are creating the “perfect” design for you it may be very different from the perfect design for someone else or a group of people and then your own preferences would weigh on the design and the “why” behind it much more heavily. If it is meant to be practical (something you could actually build at some point) then it would also need to take into account the availability of materials and any equipment needed to construct the mattress.

There’s some interesting information here about many different options that can be used for mattress ticking that may make some interesting reading. There are some great natural fibers of course but some of the newer engineered or more technical fabrics may also be interesting. Celliant for example utilizes far infrared to speed up healing and recovery.

I’m not sure that a microcoil exists with this many coils. Do you have a link to one?

The softness of the coils would depend on their gauge, height, pre-compression, number of turns, and coil count. In addition to this a cylindrical spring has a near linear spring rate that would determine how supportive it is when it is compressed (how quickly it gets firm). The equivalent to spring rate in a foam would be compression modulus (the ratio between 25% compression force and 65% compression force). If you “translated” the spring rate of a cylindrical spring into compression modulus it would be 2.6 (linear) and the compression modulus of Talalay can be a little higher than this (meaning it gets firmer faster than a spring) while the compression modulus of Dunlop is higher yet (approaching 4). This is just to show that foam can actually be more “supportive” than a spring even in the same softness.

This is also complicated because the “spring rate” (or compression curve) of a foam is shaped more like a banana than a line with initial resistance to compression being higher, it then flattens out, and as it approaches maximum compression it curves up higher again. The middle section is closer to linear than either end of the compression curve. Foam also absorbs more energy than a spring (has a higher hysteresis) so it doesn’t “push back” as strongly as a spring. The spring rate of a spring can be made to be non linear by using different spring shapes and combinations in series or in parallel (in the same spring unit). The resilience (the height of the rebound of a ball that is dropped on a material) is also higher than foam (which absorbs more of the initial energy) so the “feel” would also be different.

All of these can be used to make either subtle or more pronounced variations in the feel and performance of a mattress but they can be so complex that in most cases personal experimentation with different types of layers and materials can “cut through” the difficulty (and the math) of trying to predict how a certain combination of components may feel based on specs alone.

While a coil in coil support system has certain properties (it becomes firmer quite suddenly when the second coil is engaged in parallel with the first) … there are also other options that may have a more gradual transition between the two different spring rates which in turn may do best with different layers above them. In effect … a coil in coil system is like having two layers one on top of the other. The first “layer” would be the 1/4 of the height that only engages one of the coils while the second layer would be the part of the coil that engages both layers in “parallel” and would be much firmer. How much firmer the second layer would be would depend on the gauge of the shorter coil inside. This would provide a more “sudden” transition between two different spring rates while a more gradual transition can be achieved with different types of coils or coil combinations if that is the goal.

The softer part of the coil will provide more “pressure relief” than “support” because they are softer. They will also “help” the softer upper layers to conform to the body shape and help “fill in” the gaps in the sleeping profile which is more “secondary” support for the gaps in the sleeping profile rather than primary support (the support which “stops” the heavier more protruding parts of the body from sinking further and supports the majority of the weight). The softer the coils are the less softness you may need in the comfort layers.

You may also want to consider different types of zoning where the heavier parts of the body have firmer materials under them than the lighter parts of the body or even other alternative types of zoning.

All of this isn’t to say that any design is better than another … only to identify how many variables there can be which each interact with each other and how important it can be to design based on “feel” as much as on “design theory”. Sometimes the variables are so complex … particularly in combination with the variables of different body types and sleeping styles … that a particular design may be very different in theory from how it ends up performing in real life.

So if this design is for your own unique needs and preferences … what are the qualities of a mattress that are most important to you?


Here is a link to one from Aireloom that has 4000

Hi cheesepuff,

I believe that the Ultra Plush version has two microcoils in the top layers each of which have 2000 coils (like the plush version here).

This would make it a coil (microcoil) on coil (microcoil) on coil (innerspring support core) on an “torsion bar boxspring” or 4 separate “working” layers of steel :slight_smile:


huh. didn’t realize that anyone made a micro coil on micro coil system. This intrigues me :ohmy:

As for the mattress, im just trying to think up a concept of the perfect plush mattress. Not so much with the intent on actually making it, but to see how far my imagination can take it.

There certainly is a lot to consider.

Has there ever been a coil system with more than just a dual coil (coil in coil)? What if we took a similar idea as the one i described, but make the effect more gradual by reducing the inner coils from 3/4 of the master coils (lets just call the biggest coil in the coil in coil system a master coil :whistle: ) height, and dial it to 7/8 the height (reducing the inner coils by 1/8 the size of the master coil) and have a total of 4 coils (a coil inside of a coil, inside of a coil inside a coil). Lets also make each inner coils progressively less firm than the last by turning the gauge of the coil .5 higher than the last (going from 15 gauge in the master coil, 15.5 inside that, 16 inside that, 16.5 inside that). The idea is that instead of increasing the firmness of the inner coils the deeper the compression, the combination of 4 total coils in each other will provide more resistance once they are engaged with pressure. However, to prevent it from stiffening up to quickly, we make each step of inner coils less firm to help compensate.

Now as for other details of the coils that you mentioned, i will have to play around with those in real life some more to figure out what i trying to achieve.

Sounds a bit ridiculous im sure, but im just messing around with the idea. its fun to try and think of crazy designs for things. Who knows, maybe one day one of them might be a winner. :stuck_out_tongue:

here a quick CAD render of what was in my head. I used cylinders to represent coils (i was lazy :stuck_out_tongue: ) each color is a different coil

Hi cheesepuff,

This type of a coil would have a variable 5 stage combination of spring rates that becomes firmer in various stages as the overall spring compresses deeper.

Since I always ask about the “why” behind a particular design … my question would be why is a 5 stage spring rate important and what would be the benefits it could provide over variable spring rates that came from different spring shapes, two stage designs, or different springs that were fabricated on top of each other (in series instead of in parallel).

As some food for thought … I have often “played” with variations of this design which uses rods and extension springs (rather than compression springs) to achieve a much more point elastic spring layer with some unique benefits and possibilities.


The reason for it is somewhat basic.

Many beds have zoning to accommodate where they think your body is going to need more or less support. But what of those who sleep weird? Perhaps your body is far too different than what the zoning is designed for (maybe your a short person, or really really tall?). I want to make a spring that will in a sense “auto zone” itself not based on where the maker “thinks” certain areas of your body is going to be, but instead adjust accordingly to the pressure that’s actually there, even if the part of the body causing that pressure moves to a completely different place in the bed. So that no matter how you sleep, the springs adjust as if it was tailor zoned for what ever place you sleep on it, in any position.

To a large degree progressive rate springs are already capable of doing this with far less complexity and expense. The biggest problem with coil systems is not really getting the zoning correctly its about allowing the coil to fill in your body gaps properly (how the coils are tied together). The amount of actual support your body gets back is only really dependent on how much body weight you would have situated over that particular body part/point. Variable rate springs and traditional zoning do not reposition your body, flexible independent moving springs do. Most of which are already progressive rate springs that tend to get either firmer when compressed, or you simply end up making a larger surface area impact on the mattress the more you sink into the mattress therefore bringing more coils into play.

I hope what I am saying makes some sense, I am sort of typing this quickly while at work but the thread topic is interesting.

Hi cheesepuff and budgy,

Not surprisingly (since you are among the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to mattresses) it makes perfect sense to me :). Especially the part about as you sink in deeper the surface area of the mattress that comes into contact with the body increases which brings more coils into play which in turn increases resistance and how this is just as much a part of progressive firmness and weight re-distribution as the design of the spring itself.

There is a great resource site here which has a lot of great information about different types of springs and variations and how they each perform.

Like Budgy … I would question the real life advantage of 5 stage springs. What you are really doing with this is increasing the compression modulus of the spring (as each stage kicked in the spring rate would get firmer) rather than zoning the mattress which involves using springs with different spring rates under different areas of the body to compensate for weight differences between different parts of the body (most of our weight is concentrated in the lower trunk area). Zoning and spring rate are both part of the mattress design but they perform different functions. Zones are horizontal while spring rate and compression modulus is vertical. A firmer zone in the middle third of the mattress for example would be under the heavier parts of anyone’s body regardless of body type, height, or weight.

As Budgy also mentioned … springs already have a progressive firmness and generally a softer section to add to the softness of the comfort layers and help conform to the body shape and a firmer section to rapidly increase resistance for support. I’m not so sure of the benefits of more than this and the springs may never even compress deeply enough to reach the deeper levels. Some of the other issues that may be involved with 5 in 1 springs are that the diameter of the outer springs may need to be so wide that the springs would lose some point elasticity (the ability to form itself to a body shape which is connected to the narrower diameter coils and higher coil counts), the springs may interfere with each other as they compress together (they may bend into each other while they are compressing), and this type of coil would also not be useable in a two sided mattress if that was an important consideration. The travel distance of the “soft part” on top may also not be deep enough before the next set of springs kicks in so it may get firm too quickly when it may need to maintain its relative softness for a little greater distance.

IMO … its important to have a design goal for the mattress in mind as a starting point and then build towards the goal because the performance of a mattress is not just dependent on the springs (or even on having springs at all) but on how all the components interact together. One type of spring that would work well in one application in combination with other layers and components may not work well at all in combination with other components and layers. All the layers and components interact together and each component needs to be chosen in combination with the others it is used with and with the overall design and “target market” of the mattress in mind. For example a simple 12.5 gauge Bonnell coil can be a great coil for someone who is say a very heavy back sleeper with appropriate and durable comfort layers on top while a high coil count pocket spring that uses a much lower gauge, a higher coil count and has thinner comfort layers may be very appropriate for someone who is a much lighter side sleeper.

Any component can be suitable in the right quality and application in combination with other appropriate layers and components that work well together to achieve the design goal and target market of the mattress.

The key is to “start with the end in mind” :slight_smile:


Thanks for the information.

I enjoy concepting, even if i have no intention of making it, or if its a ridiculous design. It helps me learn more about the components, and why something will or will not work.

I truly enjoy learning, even if my idea is completely wrong :side:

Its nice getting ideas, then moving on to a different idea, and learning why something works better than the other.

I’m going to look into what others has done that is out of the ordinary and get little ideas that i can discuss.

wait…i just had an idea.

has anyone tried using hydraulics instead of springs?

I was looking into hydraulic recoil reduction stocks for shotguns and the idea kinda just hit me.

what if we replaced the springs with hydraulic tubs that act like springs, much like the way a recoil reduction stock on a gun works. When a force is acted on it, it compresses. and when the force is gone, it goes back to its normal size. The hydraulics could be finely tuned to whatever someone needs.

Once again, thinking of odd ideas, and just seeing what you guys think. :stuck_out_tongue:

any thoughts?

Hi cheesepuff,

I don’t have any experience with “hydraulic” mattresses (and I don’t know of any) so I really don’t know how they would feel or perform or have much sense of any potential they would have.

I would need to learn more about the possibilities of hydraulics as they applied to mattress construction to really have any meaningful opinions about their possibilities … although it would be an interesting idea.

If any other members have any thoughts about how this could work or how they may compare to materials or components that are currently in use I’d certainly welcome them.


maybe ditch the coils

[quote=scientific american]For unknown reasons the rates of breast cancer and melanoma have both increased steadily in the last 30 years. Exposure to the sun elevates the risk of melanoma, but the sun’s intensity has not changed in the last three decades. Stranger still, melanoma most commonly affects the hip, thighs and trunk, which are areas of the body protected from the sun. What is responsible for the left-side dominance and increasing incidence of these cancers?

An intriguing clue comes from the Far East. In Japan there is no correlation between the rates of melanoma and breast cancer as there is in the West, and there is no left-side prevalence for either disease. Moreover, the rate of breast cancer in Japan is significantly lower than in the West; only 3 percent of what is seen in Sweden, for example. The rate of prostate cancer in Japan is only 10 percent of that in the U.K. and U.S.

The researchers suggest an explanation based on differences in sleeping habits in Japan and Western countries. Previous research has shown that both men and women prefer to sleep on their right sides. The reasons for this general preference are unclear, but sleeping on the right side may reduce the weight stress on the heart, and the heartbeat is not as loud as when sleeping on the left. Still, there is no reason to suspect that people in Japan sleep in positions that are any different from those in the West. The beds in Japan, however, are different. The futons used for sleeping in Japan are mattresses placed directly on the bedroom floor, in contrast to the elevated box springs and mattress of beds used in the West.

The first line of evidence they cite comes from a 2007 study in Sweden conducted between 1989 and 1993 that revealed a strong link between the incidence of melanoma and the number of FM and TV transmission towers covering the area where the individuals lived. Despite epidemiological correlations like this one suggesting the possibility that electromagnetic radiation from FM and TV broadcasts stations could suppress the immune system and promote cancer, the strength of these electromagnetic fields is so feeble it has been difficult to imagine any biological basis for the correlation.

even a TV set cannot respond to broadcast transmissions unless the weak electromagnetic waves are captured and amplified by an appropriately designed antenna. Antennas are simply metal objects of appropriate length sized to match the wavelength of a specific frequency of electromagnetic radiation. Just as saxophones are made in different sizes to resonate with and amplify particular wavelengths of sound, electromagnetic waves are selectively amplified by metal objects that are the same, half or one quarter of the wavelength of an electromagnetic wave of a specific frequency. Electromagnetic waves resonate on a half-wavelength antenna to create a standing wave with a peak at the middle of the antenna and a node at each end, just as when a string stretched between two points is plucked at the center. In the U.S. bed frames and box springs are made of metal, and the length of a bed is exactly half the wavelength of FM and TV transmissions that have been broadcasting since the late 1940s. In Japan most beds are not made of metal, and the TV broadcast system does not use the 87- to 108-megahertz frequency used in Western countries.

Thus, as we sleep on our coil-spring mattresses, we are in effect sleeping on an antenna that amplifies the intensity of the broadcast FM/TV radiation. Asleep on these antennas, our bodies are exposed to the amplified electromagnetic radiation for a third of our life spans. As we slumber on a metal coil-spring mattress, a wave of electromagnetic radiation envelops our bodies so that the maximum strength of the field develops 75 centimeters above the mattress in the middle of our bodies. When sleeping on the right side, the body’s left side will thereby be exposed to field strength about twice as strong as what the right side absorbs.

If this study is correct, the solution is simple: Replace the metal in our beds with a nonmetallic mattress or orient your bed, like an antenna, away from the direction of the local FM/TV transmission tower.

– R. Douglas Fields, Ph. D. is the Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Fields, who conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University, Yale University, and the NIH[/quote]

That sure is an interesting article.