green neoprene extrusion

As a strong synthetic elastomer, neoprene continues to be just as useful today as it was when it was invented in 1930. Although many different synthetic elastomers have been created since, neoprene rubber offers a huge range of well-balanced properties that make it a firm favourite for industrial applications.

Neoprene offers excellent resistance to a variety of forces, including heat, flexing, vibration, and hydrocarbons.

So, what is neoprene rubber used for? In this article from Aquaseal, we find out.

What are the advantages of neoprene?

Neoprene rubber (chemical name polychloroprene) comes from a group of synthetic rubbers produced by polymerising the organic compound chloroprene. When used for sealing and insulation, neoprene rubber offers multiple advantages, including:

  • Resistance to petroleum-based products, greases, and oils
  • Resistance to water, weather, ozone, and temperatures between -35°C and +100°C • Resistance to damage from twisting and flexing
  • Polymerisation – can be made into custom compounds and have additional material properties added to it

Neoprene rubber is also extremely chemically stable and exhibits great resistance against solvent damage. It’s able to handle adhesives, as well as provide cushioning, protection against vibration, and abrasion resistance.

What is neoprene rubber used for?

You’ll find neoprene in a variety of applications from a wide range of sectors, including – but not limited to -:

1. Mobile technology
2. Defence
3. Medical and Healthcare
4. Stainless Steel
5. Food Equipment (FDA-approved rubber)
6. Aerospace

On its own, neoprene is commonly used to mass-produce reliable gaskets, cable jackets, tubing, Orings, seals, tire-sidewalls, gasoline hoses, wetsuits, and orthopaedic braces. You’ll also find it as a base resin in electrical insulations and coatings, and adhesives, thanks to its wide range of useful properties and reasonable price.

Can neoprene rubber be modified for specialist applications?

Neoprene rubber on its own (or ‘commodity rubber’) is not particularly expensive, as it is mass-produced as a standard synthetic elastomer.

However, some applications require specialist rubber solutions. In these cases, specific approvals and certifications may need to be sought. Here are a few examples:

  • UL 94
    This standard, released by the Underwriters Laboratories of the US, determines a plastic-based material’s tendency to either extinguish or spread a flame once ignited. It refers exclusively to rubber or plastic found in electrical enclosures and can be applied to modified neoprene.
  • ASTM E162
    This test measures and compares the surface flammability of a material when exposed to a prescribed level of radiant heat. Neoprene rubber has low flammability.
  • SMP 800C
    This test looks for toxic gas generation potential of a material. Polychloroprenes like neoprene rubber contain a high chlorine content, which can be dangerous when heated up and breathed in as a gas. Therefore, neoprene must be modified in order to meet this requirement, especially for applications in the mass transit industry such as metros, buses, and trains.

How are neoprene rubber products manufactured?

Neoprene rubber will typically arrive at a manufacturing facility in the form of a roll or sheet, or sometimes even a fabric.

It can be moulded and extruded to meet a variety of client briefs, and comes in three types of material:

  • Solid
  • Sponge
  • Foam

Rubber foams come in two types – closed cell, and open cell. Closed cell neoprene rubber is waterproof, while open cell neoprene features interconnected pockets of air which allow gas and fluids to pass through the product (as long as it is not fully compressed).

Bespoke Neoprene Rubber Products from Aquaseal Rubber

Aquaseal rubber can design, manufacture, and supply custom-fabricated neoprene products – from orings and gaskets, to insulation and sealing.

If you’re looking for a rubber company where product quality and customer service comes first, feel free to call 0191 266 0934 or drop an email to enquiries@aquasealrubber.co.uk.

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