What is Neoprene and why should we use it?
Neoprene is a general-purpose synthetic rubber that is not only durable but also waterproof, thermally stable, and chemically resistant. One of the versatile polymer materials that TRP Polymer Solutions work with is neoprene. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that is suitable for applications that require a general-purpose material that is durable, waterproof, thermally stable, and reasonably resistant to chemicals and corrosive mediums.
Like with all polymer materials, there are advantages and disadvantages of using neoprene. PIF spoke to TRP Polymer Solutions to gain a deeper understanding of the material neoprene, its uses, and the pros and cons of using this material within different applications.
What is neoprene?
Neoprene rubber is the DuPont trade name for Polychloroprene rubber or Chloroprene, which is a versatile synthetic rubber. Neoprene is produced through the polymerisation of chloroprene. Polymerisation is the process that links single molecules into multi-unit molecules to create polychloroprene chips.
These chips are then melted and mixed with various foaming agents and carbon pigments before being baked until the mixtures expand to create sheets of neoprene. TRP Polymer Solutions sell neoprene as either a solid rubber or in latex form.
When was neoprene invented?
Following an increased demand for natural rubber, and therefore the subsequent price rise in the 1920s, scientists set out to create a cheaper synthetic alternative. American chemist Arnold Collins made the breakthrough required to create one of the first successful synthetic rubbers in 1930.
Collins was a part of the DuPont research group and made his discovery after investigating the by-products of Divinylacetylene, which is a vinyl derivative of acetylene. After World War 1, DuPont invested in a neoprene manufacturing plant to meet the increasing demand for neoprene rubber.
What are the advantages of neoprene?
TRP Polymer Solutions highlight that neoprene has waterproof and corrosion-resistant properties that make it resilient to a range of environmental factors, including UV, ozone, and oxidation. Plus, its good thermal stability means that it remains flexible over a wide range of temperatures from -40 °C to +120 °C.
Neoprene is also popular due to its strong all-round chemical resistance as it remains unaffected by a range of chemicals including solvents, oils, and petroleum-based fuels. Neoprene is also durable, tear-resistant, and adheres easily to metals and fabrics, whilst also, in some instances, being flame resistant.
What are the disadvantages of neoprene?
TRP Polymer Solutions point out that the primary disadvantage of neoprene is its cost.
Several other materials offer similar characteristics at a lower price, but fail to offer the complete range of characteristics that neoprene does. Neoprene also offers poor resistance to strong oxidising acids, esters, ketone, and certain hydrocarbons. In comparison, other rubber materials deliver superior oil resistance. The final disadvantage of neoprene is that it can absorb water over time and for this reason, it is not recommended as an electrical insulator.
What are the applications of neoprene?
Neoprene is extremely versatile and therefore is used for many different products. As it does not degrade as quickly as natural rubber, neoprene is ideal for gaskets and hoses. However, it is most commonly used in wetsuits due to its insulating properties.
Other typical uses for neoprene include:
- Wire and cable insulation
- Flexible mounts
Where to buy neoprene rubber seals?
TRP Polymer Solutions is an industry-leading manufacturer of high-performance neoprene rubber sealing components. They have developed an extensive collection of sealing products from every type of polymer material available, including neoprene.
TRP Polymer Solutions also offer a wide range of high-performance seal materials, with a team of highly skilled technical experts that are adept at formulating innovative sealing solutions and will oversee the development of your product from the design stage through to full production.
Speak to an expert at TRP Polymer Solutions to find out which polymer is best suited to your application and how TRP Polymer Solutions can assist you in creating the perfect polymer solution.
TRP Polymer Solutions
TRP Polymer Solutions was established in 2004, we design, develop and manufacture custom rubber mouldings and ‘O’ rings for industries worldwide including chemical processing, oil & gas, aerospace, nuclear, pharmaceutical and medical. Supplying North America, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southern Asia, Asia Pacific and Australasia.
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