It will hold it's open 3 dimensional internal structure even if purposely crushed.
It is easy to cut. Use a hole saw to cut circles for pipework. Use a jig saw with a fine tooth blade, or 8" long sharp carving knife for free-form shapes. You can also use band saw, with a very fine tooth blade, or turn the blade and use the backside as knife .
Use a masonry blade turned backwards on a circular saw.
Read Completely Before Cutting Matala
Matala only needs to be 10 inches to 20 inches deep in the filter at the most (some designs will only require 3" to 6"). Stand the Matala vertically on edge and the 39" wide will make 4x 9.75" pieces; the 48" wide will make 4x 12" pieces. Cutting this way will reduce waste.
Determine how many sheets of Matala will work for the application.
Get dimensions and determine overall volume of filter tank.
Subtract at least 3" to 4" of water space above and below your media for good water distribution.
What is the available volume in cu.ft for Matala?
Divide cu.ft by 1.6 equals number of full sheets required.
Does this volume coincide with recommended guidelines; 1,2,3,4?
Determine how to cut the Matala with the least waste.
Do you want to lay the sheets flat? Cut Matala to inside dimensions to fit a little tight, 1/8 inch too big is OK.
Do you want to stand the Matala on edge? This usually gives the least waste.
We will determine 3 dimensions for your filter: Span 1; Media Depth, and Span 2. These equate to filter area and depth.
Span 1 The Span 1 measurement can represent either the length or width dimension of the filter. Determine which side of the Matala (48" or 39" or any division of these such as 24" or 19.5") most closely matches the filter dimension and gives the least waste.
Media Depth Next, cut strips along this measurement of Matala (span 1)to equal your desired media depth. You will produce multiple strips and these strips will represent Span 1 and the Media Depth.
Span 2 Divide Span2 of your filter by 1.5". This gives you the number of strips you will have to cut from Span 1. Each strip is 1.5" wide when stood on edge. Standing these strips on edge next to each other across the filter tank will achieve Span 2.
Fine Tuning You will often find that you need to modify the Media Depth in order to achieve the correct number of strips for Span 2.
As long as you are within the recommended guidelines of 1,2,3,4 for a given pond; depth of media can vary anywhere from 6" deep to 24" deep.
Draw it out on paper Draw a picture of a sheet of Matala and cut it up in different ways to determine the best overall strip sizes for the given filter.You may find that you need more or less sheets of Matala.
Configurations You can place strips of Matala perpendicular to each other if your cut strips do not span all the way across the tank.