Containment Foam is the PRT's most common incapacitant non-lethal less-lethal responses to Parahuman threats.


Containment foam is a yellow-white in colour.[1][2]

It sprays as a liquid, then expands into a foam.[3] The foam is flexible and porous, allowing people to breath while fully entrenched in it, and is extremely sticky. It's impact resistant, so heavy hitters can be contained or safely catch falling individuals. It's also resistant to high and low temperatures[4] and insulates against electricity. Its rubbery nature makes it difficult to get leverage once trapped in it.[3] Only the strongest villains can escape once caught.[5][3]

Even flecks of foam expand into masses the size of golf balls and softballs. Attempting to wipe it off exposes more to the air, making it expand still further.[6]


The PRT has vans with turrets mounted on the top to spray containment foam.[7][8] They were only authorized against certain threats.[9][10]

PRT officers can equip grenade launchers with specialized loadouts, including containment foam shells.[11][12] Protectorate heroes sometimes have grenades as part of their kit as well.[13] It is not a stretch to imagine that Watchdog arm their employees similarly.

The Baumann Parahuman Containment Center has layers of dormant foam hidden in the outer walls between layers of ceramic, that will bury anyone attempting to break in.[14] Dragon could vent it from the ceiling at will.[15] Many of the drones in the hollowed-out portions carried containment foam,[16] as did many of her suits.

The Parahuman Asylum had a sprinkler system that could deploy containment foam.[17]

Dovetail had a costume with compact foam sprayers built into it.[18]

E-type containment cells in the PRT ENE Headquarters had containment foam sprayers, among other countermeasures.[19]

Foam Sprayers Edit

PRT officers are often equipped with tinker-made containment foam applicators resembling flamethrowers, with tanks mounted on their back.[5] Each tank contains about three gallons of foam.[1] They're held on with large backpack-like straps.[20] The hose leading from the containment foam tank is tough, but can be cut with a knife.[21][1]

They use an electrical charge to prevent the foam sticking to the nozzle,[22] which makes them vulnerable to an EMP.[23] The PRT needed Dragon to maintain them.[24]

As of 2001, the nozzle had a display showing foam remaining, and settings for spray volume and distribution.[25]

Some foam sprayers had some kind of handprint recognition to prevent them being stolen,[26] likely the same system installed on the PRT's grenade launchers, which required special PRT-issue gloves to activate.[27]


Foam degrades over time eventually. This can be expedited with a specialized solvent.[28][29]

The solvent is kept in specialized trucks to prevent it from being stolen while being used to free people.[30] Anyone who needs to be freed must wait for it to be mixed[31] and/or for the trucks to arrive. Dragon is the only individual allowed to make personal use of it.[30]

Teacher successfully stole the formula for a containment-foam solvent from Dragon.[32]


Dragon is said to have designed it, along with the Birdcage and much of the PRT's other gear.[33] It's possible that she was updating an existing project.[34] It was introduced shortly before February 2001.[35]

It's possible that Dragon developed the foam when she was still working for Andrew Richter.[36]

It is currently manufactured in sophisticated facilities in Austin and then sent out to other departments.[37]


  • Sticky foam is a real life project that has failed to achieve what the fictional Containment foam does.[38]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 I was stepping behind one of the team members, drawing my knife against the hose that extended between the flamethrower-like device he held in his hands and the tank on his back.  It didn't cut immediately, forcing me to try a second time.  As the knife severed the material of the hose, the PRT team member noticed me and drove his elbow into my face.  My mask took the worst of the hit, but getting hit in the face by a full grown man isn't any fun with any amount of protective headwear.

    I fell back through the doorway even as the tank began emptying its contents onto the floor.  It was a yellow-white, and as it poured onto the ground, it expanded like shaving cream.  The tank was probably close to three gallons, making for a hell of a lot of foam. - Excerpt from Tangle 6.5
  2. Her hands were buried in a pair of reinforced metal buckets, each filled with that damn pastel yellow foam.
    The girl wore the same orange jumpsuit as Paige, and every part of her except her shoulders and head were covered in the yellow-white foam. - Interlude 6
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The PRT, the Parahuman Response Team, was equipped with tinker-designed nonlethal weaponry to subdue supervillains.  This containment foam was standard issue.  It ejected as a liquid, then expanded into a sticky foam with a few handy properties.  It was flexible and it was porous when fully expanded, for one thing, so you could breathe while contained within it, at least long enough for rescue teams with a dissolving agent to get to you.  It was also impact resistant, so PRT squads could coat the ground with it to save falling individuals or keep heavy hitters from doing much damage.

    The way it expanded, you could coat all but the strongest villains in it, and it would disable them.  Because of the way it denied you leverage and was resistant to impacts and tearing, even the likes of Lung would have trouble pulling themselves free.  Topping it all off, it was resistant to high temperatures and a strong insulator, so it served to handle the pyrokinetics and those with electromagnetic powers. - Excerpt from Tangle 6.5
  4. Ereus: Can containment foam be frozen[?]
    Wildbow: Nope [...] Temperature resistant
    Wildbow: For both high and low end of the scale[...]
    Wildbow: I figured it was was a given, if not already stated in story - Wildbow on IRC, archived on Spacebattles
  5. 5.0 5.1 The other two had what appeared at first glance to be flame throwers; were they to pull the triggers, they would eject a thick, frothing spray of foam, enough to contain all but the strongest and fastest villains. - Excerpt from Interlude 3
  6. All in all, Dragon unloaded four streams of containment foam into the lobby, each of the shoulder mounted turrets  gushing like firehoses.  Only flecks of the spray struck us, but they expanded into blobs of foam the size of golf balls and softballs.  Each blob was tacky, sticky, and any attempt to wipe it away just smeared it and exposed more surface area to the air, making it expand more. - Parasite 10.5
  7. The containment foam sprayers might have been an issue, but none of the uniforms were in a position to use the stuff.  I'd come prepared, and each sprayer was either thoroughly snagged on spider silk at the top of the equipped trucks, or the PRT agents who were wearing the portable tanks were bound, blind and under siege by massed bugs. - Imago 21.1
  8. If they were following Tagg's orders, there was now a PRT wagon stationed nearby, ready with a containment foam turret, in case the villains decided to meet there again. -Cell 22.1
  9. Mover
    Has the ability to transport themselves and/or others to other locations, by means of enhanced speed, teleportation, flight, vehicles or the like.
    General response is to limit movements where possible, anticipate attack from any direction. When declared in the field, if possible, append classification with type. Mover: Teleporter!
    Threat level 2+: Communicate mover nature. Where possible, move fight to a contained area where free-ranging movement is less effective, targeting objectives or other threats to draw attention and focus. Lock down area. -Anchorage Doc
  10. Striker
    Has a power that applies on physical contact. Often applies a changed state, like the breaker classification, but isn’t personal. Melee range, but not strength or durability, as per Brute.
    General response is to maintain a set distance and maintain visual on the striker. Open areas are preferrable to cramped quarters.
    Threat level 2+: Team is notified as to the striker classification. Formation should maintain a distance. Foam sprayers authorized.
    Threat level 5+: Truck mounted foam sprayers and net guns are authorized.
    Threat level 9+: None. -Anchorage Doc
  11. Grenade launchers, with special shells.  I turned a grenade launcher over in my hands before figuring out how to open it and load the cartridges.  Each was color coded, with a symbol and two-letter code stenciled on it.  A green cartridge with a face, eyes squinting, mouth open with tongue extended, T.G. beneath.  A red cartridge with the letters I.G. and a flame.  A blue cartridge with a stick-man stuck in goop, C.F. no doubt standing for containment foam.  A yellow cartridge with a lightning bolt and E.M. beneath. - Cell 22.5
  12. If you have to fight, you assume anything is possible and you assume the capes aren't going to be able to back you up. This is the time you bring out the special grenade loadouts, leaning towards the stuff that tends to work across the board (containment foam grenades, stun grenades). - Wildbow on SpaceBattles
  13. Taylor most likely retreats and the heroes get a glimpse of her while they're foam grenading Lung. - Wildbow on SpaceBattles
  14. The Baumann Detention Center is a structure so complex I had to design an artificial intelligence to put it together.  It's situated inside of a hollowed out mountain, the walls of which are lined with layers of a ceramic of my own design, each such layer separated by volumes of dormant containment foam.  If you punched a hole in the outside of the mountain, you'd only wind up with more foam than you knew how to handle. - Interlude 6
  15. I opened a portal within the Birdcage, to capture my first prisoner.

    Containment foam rained down from the ceiling, sealing him in place.

    Dragon, I thought. - Speck 30.3
  16. Both the interior of the tubes and the interior of the mountain itself are vacuums.  Even if an individual were to have powers allowing them to navigate the vacuum, I have three thousand antigrav drones in position at any given time, laying dormant in that lightless void, waiting for any signal, motion, energy or air leakage to awaken them.  Once awakened, a drone will move to the location of said anomaly and detonate.  Many of my drones contain a loadout of containment foam, but others contain payloads designed to counteract various methods one could theoretically use to traverse the vacuum. - Interlude 6
  17. "It's what we have for the time being.  If you don't verify your own safety or if you signal an emergency, we'll employ containment foam through the sprinkler system."

    "And I'll be stuck here for another hour, with another four pages of paperwork after the fact." - Interlude 18.z
  18. She was already unable to use the compact containment foam sprayer she had built into her costume. - Imago 21.1
  19. Cell 22.1
  20. I was flat on my back and couldn't back away fast enough to escape, especially with my having to slip my arms from the straps that held the tank of containment foam to my back. - Tangle 6.6
  21. PRT Quest threat iii p33
  23. There was a muffled ‘whump' sound, and I felt something like a wave of intensely hot air that made every hair on my arms, legs and the back of my neck stand on end.  I realized the trigger of the containment foam sprayer was depressed and nothing was coming out of the end of the weapon.  I tried again.  Nothing.

    That would be an electromagnetic pulse screwing up the machinery. - Tangle 6.5
  24. "And if you leave, the assumption is that we'll be left without Dragon's ability to maintain every system and device she's created for us.  The PRT without a Birdcage, without our computer systems or database, without the specialized grenade loadouts or the containment foam dispensers." - Interlude 20.x
  25. She buckled it on and then gripped the hose-sprayer.  The display on the nozzle would be showing her the amount of foam remaining, as well as the settings for spray volume and distribution. - Interlude 16.x
  26. "Hey!" A girl shouted.  I looked and saw a horned girl crouched by one of the fallen PRT officers, holding the foam sprayer.  Imp.  Right, it was Imp.  She looked at Tattletale, "It won't fire!"

    Tattletale hurried over, grabbed the fallen officer's arm, and lifted it over to the handle of the gun.  She put his finger on the trigger and aimed the gun at Clockblocker, unloading spray on top of his upper body just as he managed to heave the fallen officer off of himself. - Excerpt from Parasite 10.3
  27. Cell 22.5
  28. A counteragent for the containment foam will be applied as you descend, so that you are free before you reach the bottom. - Interlude 6
  29. Parasite 10.5
  30. 30.0 30.1 Solvents aren't included with the tanks - only specialized trucks & Dragon suits have them. If they were freely available or part of the standard sprayer setup they'd be too easy to co-opt or steal.

    If you have a foam sprayer you bring it to the field, with all the hassles that involves (burden, tank is a critical weak point that takes you out of the fight if damaged) you use it, and if you tag someone/get caught in your own foam, it's then a long wait for the truck with all requisite protections to come rolling along & spray what's needed to free you. - comment on Reddit
  31. I'm not allowed to walk away until they're in custody, so if I let you foam them, I'm going to have to wait another half an hour to an hour for the solvent to get mixed and brought to them, five or ten minutes for it to work. - Parasite 10.2
  32. A mist erupted around the pad.  The foam that bound it in place broke down.
    You don't shoot tinker devices.  At best you bury them in containment foam, and I used my access to Dragon to find the formula for a counteragent. - Teneral e.5
  33. Dragon had designed the Birdcage and much of the gear the PRT used, including the containment foam. - Interlude 6
  34. She began creating tools, fixing and updating existing work, including the containment foam guns, the grenade launchers and all the other technologies that became PRT fundamentals. - Cockroaches 28.2
  35. The pilot, Pyne and Lady were the only ones certified to use the containment foam, the latest addition to the arsenal of the Parahuman Response Teams. - Interlude 16.x
  36. Honestly, I may have flubbed the timeline with Dragon's involvement. It's fixable if I move the Newfoundland scenario to an earlier point, but you could also say that it was still 2005 that she emerged but the foam was created earlier by her (with Richter there) and she merely took responsibility for the design at a later date, after emerging/manifesting. - Wildbow on Mythweavers
  37. Containment Foam

    The containment foam dispensers aren't that special. The foam itself is, well, it's the end product. The original formulation happens in secure facilities in Austin, it gets contained and then shipped out to PRT offices. To get a proper scan, you'd need to actually go to Austin. You couldn't reverse engineer it from the stuff you get in the tanks/spray out onto hapless villains. - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
  38. Army reloads on Sticky Foam weaponry
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