What is Neoprene Rubber?

Neoprene rubber is a versatile and widely used synthetic material with a range of applications across many different industries. Depending on the manufacturing process, the properties of neoprene can be slightly altered to meet the environment's needs. It can be chemically manipulated to be fireproof, water-resistant, chemically resistant, and oil-resistant.

Table of Contents

This guide to neoprene rubber is sure to be informative and insightful. So let’s dive in and discover the wonders of this fascinating material!

What is Neoprene Rubber?

Environmentally friendly neoprene rubber material

Neoprene rubber, commonly known as polychloroprene, is manufactured by polymerizing chloroprene rubber. This is a type of recurring structural cell. The chloroprene keeps all the atoms and molecules of the chemical reaction together, creating polychloroprene fragments. These scraps are heated and processed with carbon pigments and foaming additives. This mix is then heated and allowed to settle till it expands.

Neoprene rubber is a versatile alternative to natural rubber, with a wide range of applications in almost every industry. It is a highly versatile synthetic rubber.

Neoprene rubber is responsible for the decrease in the price of natural rubber. It was invented during a period when the natural material of rubber became scarce due to the high demand from rubber manufacturers. This scarcity led to the invention of a solution – Neoprene rubber.

In partnership with a rubber manufacturing company, Harvard chemist Wallace Carothers invented Neoprene rubber, which is available in three types-Latex form, Sponge, and Extruded rubber form

What are Neoprene Rubber Properties?

Rubber Properties

The properties of neoprene rubber are a result of its manufacturing process. It has a flexible list of properties, making it resistant to most, if not all, types of weaknesses. What’s better, the properties can be altered through the introduction of additives.

Physically Tough

Neoprene rubber is a very durable and tough or solid rubber material; it has a high tensile strength, which makes it able to resist physical load without degrading or physically deforming.

Ozone and Sunlight Resistance

Compared to natural Neoprene rubber, synthetic rubber is resistant to ozone and moderate amounts of direct sunlight. This is because it has a low oxidation rate, making it a reasonable substitution in some projects.

Waterproof and Heat resistance

Waterproof  rubber

Waterproof, heat and mild chemical resistance have little to no effect on neoprene. This is an excellent feature for synthetic materials in long-term projects.

Chemically Adaptable

To alter the physical properties of neoprene rubber, making it a more suitable material. It can be bonded with other materials (cotton, aluminum, glass, acrylic, and copper). When mixed during production, these additives improve resistance and durability.

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Uses for Neoprene Rubber

Neoprene rubber or polychloroprene rubber is a relatively versatile synthetic rubber material used in many wearable and industrial products. It is a suitable replacement for natural rubber because it has a longer service life and better properties.

Polychloroprene chips

Neoprene foam is produced in closed-cell form or open-cell form. Closed cell is waterproof and has excellent resistance in comparison to open cell.

Here are some of the core usages of this synthetic rubber;

Clothing and Home Use

Due to its water-resistant capabilities, as well as its insulating properties, this rubber material is prevalent in manufacturing neoprene fabric, such as wet suits, gloves, neoprene boots, and jackets. It also produces common household materials, i.e., lunch bags, facemasks, phones, and laptop cases.

Neoprene Fabric, Seat covers

Automobile Use

Neoprene is used in corrosion-resistant coatings, as an electrical insulator, and in materials that face harsh conditions and a lot of wear, such as automotive and industrial applications. A large fraction of car components are manufactured from neoprene. It can withstand the effects of oxidizing agents and petroleum oils. It produces car shock absorbers, seat covers, seals, o-rings, and gaskets.

Neoprene Gaskets - surface flammability

Medical Use

Neoprene is used in hospitals and other medical settings. Neoprene, as a rubber material, is generally safe to wear and high-quality.

These medical products are recycled through a waste management plan (recycled with other materials to create a new material called resurrection rubber).

breathable neoprene made knee support

Construction Use

Construction rubber parts made from neoprene are water- and heat-resistant, making them a perfect fit for the environment. They aid in canceling loud vibrational noises.

Deviator pads and washers are some of the best neoprene items. Neoprene is used in every industry today.

Different Types of Neoprene Rubber    

Rubber Extrusions profile

Neoprenes are classified into three types based on the manufacturing process, additives, and application industries.

Neoprene Foam

This form of neoprene is spongy and considerably soft. This makes it a suitable medium for clothing and housing items (rain boots and phone cases). It is used as an insulator in rubber gloves and boots.

Neoprene Sheets

This neoprene type is produced in rubber sheets, making it suitable for clothing. It is mainly used as a ground layer for adhesives and home flooring (for noise cancellation).

Neoprene Extrusion

Neoprene rubber is extruded to produce uniquely shaped rubber products. This makes it a lot more versatile than spongy or sheet-type Neoprene. Also, the volume of Neoprene used in manufacturing is significantly reduced, making it more cost-effective.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Neoprene Rubber

Neoprene, like any other rubber material, has a list of advantageous and disadvantageous properties. It is used in everyday products, from clothing items like swimming caps to seals in construction industries.

The Advantages of successful synthetic rubbers are listed below.

Semi Oil resistance

Neoprene can withstand considerable exposure to solvents, petroleum-based products, greases, and oils for a short period. This makes it a suitable medium for oil-prone environments.

Physically Durability

Rubber materials made from neoprene exhibit high levels of physical toughness. Compared to other rubber materials, it can resist a high mechanical load without considerable deformation.

Heat resistance

Heat resistance

It can resist the effects of short-term exposure to temperature and the effects of atmospheric weather without falling apart. It has a melting point of 135 degrees, and while approaching this temperature range, it does not become soft and melt but instead hardens and solidifies.

While neoprene has some advantageous properties, it also has some drawbacks. The disadvantages of synthetic rubbers are listed below.

Expensive

The cost of neoprene rubber materials is one of its drawbacks. The price of neoprene is relatively high compared to similar rubber materials that perform the same function.

Heat exposure

Although able to resist minimal exposure to heat, neoprene cannot survive in an environment built for a consistent heat supply. Similar materials, such as silicone and PEEK, will make great alternatives for demanding environments.

Oil exposure

The same scenario applies to oil; neoprene cannot withstand high exposure to excess oil. Constant exposure to oil will cause undesirable failures. For environments drowned in oil, other suitable rubber materials should be considered.

How does Neoprene Rubber Differ from Other Types of Rubber?

The table below compares neoprene’s physical and chemical properties to those of other rubber products.

FeatureNeoprene RubberNatural RubberSilicone RubberNitrile Rubber
Base MaterialPolychloropreneLatex from rubber treesSilicon, carbon, hydrogen, oxygenNitrile, a type of synthetic rubber
Heat ResistanceGood, up to approx. 200°FPoor, degrades above 158°FExcellent, up to 500°FGood, up to approx. 275°F
Cold FlexibilityGoodExcellentExcellentFair to good
Chemical ResistanceGood to oils, ozone, weatheringPoor to oils and solventsExcellent to ozone and UVExcellent to oils, fuel
Tensile StrengthGoodExcellentFair to goodExcellent
ElasticityFairExcellentGoodGood
UV ResistanceGoodPoorExcellentGood
CostModerateLowHighModerate to high
ApplicationsAutomotive, marine, weather sealingTires, gloves, balloonsCookware, medical devices, sealsGloves, hoses, O-rings
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Conclusion

There is a lot of information available on neoprene. Still, after reading this article, you should be familiar with its properties, benefits, and drawbacks, as well as the various industries in which it can be used.

Contact Honju Today

At Hongju Technologies, we deliver high-quality custom-molded products. We use the best manufacturing techniques at every step of our manufacturing process. Contact us if your projects are demanding and need the best rubber products!  

                      

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david

Hey there, I’m David!

I’m the founder of Hongju Silicone. I have been in this field for more than two decades. If you are looking for custom-made silicone rubber products, feel free to ask me any questions.

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