Foam group honors visco-elastic inventor Charles Yost

Robert Luedeka of the Polyurethane Foam Association, Robin Yost, PFA's  Bill Gollnitz

(From left) Robert Luedeka of the Polyurethane Foam Association, Robin Yost, PFA’s Bill Gollnitz

The Polyurethane Foam Association, with headquarters in Loudon, Tennessee, has posthumously inducted Charles A. Yost into the Flexible Polyurethane Foam Hall of Fame.

The ceremony honoring Yost took place at a PFA meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida, in May.

A foam industry innovator, Yost was recognized for his early work in developing memory foam while a contractor for NASA. In the mid-1960s, he was instrumental in formulating and developing the first open-cell, polymeric memory foam for a NASA application in airplane seats to improve crash survival odds. Yost called the visco-elastic polyurethane foam “temper foam”. His formulation had extremely pliable, pressure-contouring capabilities with high energy-absorption potential.

Over time, Yost’s innovative development provided life-changing benefits for many end-users. In 1967, he founded Dynamic Systems Inc. to commercialize temper foam for military, automotive and medical markets. The foam found early uses in ejection seats, in transportation and body protection, in wheelchair seats and in prosthetic devices. New formulations for the health care sector were used to create Pudgee and SunMate orthopedic cushions, as well as liquid SunMate “foam-in-place” assistive seating for the severely, physically disabled.

In 1998, NASA inducted Yost into the Space Technology Hall of Fame—a fitting tribute to his work in foam chemistry, as well as his lifelong passion for astronomy, rocketry and space travel. Yost also was founder and publisher of Electric Spacecraft, an internationally distributed scientific journal devoted to the development of electric propulsion technologies.

A humanitarian who was widely regarded by colleagues as generous and caring, Yost died in 2005. His son Robin Yost, the current president and chief executive officer of Dynamic Systems, accepted the Hall of Fame award on behalf of the Yost family.

The Flexible Polyurethane Foam Hall of Fame recognizes individuals and corporations that have made a significant contribution to the growth and betterment of the flexible polyurethane foam industry in North America.

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