Neoprene is a material with a number of qualities that make it ideal for outdoor use, in electrical applications, engineering parts and with food. It was invented by Dupont in 1931 and is also known as polychloroprene. Neoprene is produced by the polymerization of chloroprene and is often made into the form of rubber sheeting and mouldings. It is chemically stable and reacts well to operating in a range of temperatures.
A variety of uses
Neoprene has several industrial uses, thanks to its excellent weathering and ozone resistant properties, making it suitable for a variety of outdoor applications. These include linings for landfill sites adhesive bases and corrosion resistant coatings. Neoprene rubber is better than natural rubber or synthetic rubber at resisting degradation. The material also has great resistance to burning and is used as weather stripping for fire doors.
Electrical industrial applications also benefit from Neoprene, as the material provides padding and protection from the elements if they are situated outside. The material has a natural resistance to electricity and can help prevent the build-up of static. Many electrical products, including laptops and mobile phones have cases or covers made with Neoprene.
Neoprene’s natural resistance to greases, fats and oils, plus moderate chemicals and acids, have made it popular in the food industry and the engineering sector. It is used with refrigerants, along with vegetable and animal oils. In these cases, they take the form of O-rings, hoses, gaskets and seals.
Despite Neoprene’s many positive attributes, there are several applications in which the material is not suitable. For example, the degradation of the material will occur in the presence of strong oxidizing acids and esters. Ketones and hydrocarbons of the chlorinated, aromatic and nitro varieties are also not to be used with Neoprene rubber.