Dhristi JEE 2022-24

Introduction to Neoprene

Neoprene is a family of synthetic rubbers formed by chloroprene polymerization also known as polychloroprene.  Neoprene exhibits strong chemical stability over a large temperature range and retains durability. Neoprene being a strong general-purpose rubber is valued for its high tensile strength, oil and flame resistance, and oxygen and ozone degradation resistance; however, its high cost restricts its use to applications with special properties.

Polychloroprene, one of the first effective synthetic rubbers, was first prepared in 1930 by Arnold Collins, an American chemist in the research group at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (now DuPont Company) of Wallace Hume Carothers while researching divinyl acetylene by-products. The material was sold as Neoprene by DuPont, a trademark name that has since become generic.

Preparation of Neoprene

It was formerly prepared to form mono vinyl acetylene by treating acetylene with cuprous chloride, which was in turn treated with hydrochloric acid to yield chloroprene. Neoprene is formed by chloroprene free-radical polymerization. 

This polymer is prepared by free-radical emulsion polymerization during commercial processing. Using potassium persulfate, polymerization is initiated. To crosslink individual polymer chains, bifunctional nucleophiles, metal oxides (e.g. zinc oxide), and thioureas are used. It is emulsified in water and then polymerized by the action of free-radical initiators in order to turn chloroprene into rubber. The chloroprene repeating unit can adopt a variety of structures in the resulting polymer chain; trans-polychloroprene is the most common.

Properties of Neoprene

Neoprene was developed as an oil-resistant replacement for natural rubber, but its other properties have allowed it to be used as a rubber alternative in a wide variety of applications since its invention. 

It's a rubber that can handle a lot of heat. As compared to natural rubber, neoprene is more resistant to gas permeation and can withstand temperatures of up to 275°F. Since neoprene does not physically degrade at such high temperatures, it is better suited for long-term use in high-temperature applications than natural rubber.

Neoprene is also immune to the cold. Even though it can withstand intense heat, neoprene can withstand temperatures as low as -50 °F. When working at temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, however, neoprene stiffens and becomes unusable for most applications by the time it reaches -50 °F.

It can be used for a range of materials. Neoprene can be mechanically bonded to cotton and a number of metals, such as stainless steel, titanium, brass, and copper. The mechanism is aided by a simple bonding agent. Adhesion between neoprene and materials such as glass and acrylic may be induced in neoprene with unique additives.

Neoprene has a low oxidation rate and is immune to the sun and ozone. This enables it to be used outside for extended periods of time. 

It is chemically inert. Chemically inert, neoprene is admired for its ability to resist petroleum-based mixtures including solvents, oils, and greases. It can also tolerate alkalines, mineral acids, and certain salt solutions, as well as methyl and ethyl alcohols.

Types of Neoprene

Liquid Neoprene

The colloidal dispersions of polychloroprene or copolymers of chloroprene and other monomers such as sulphur, 2,3-dichloro-1,3-butadiene are neoprene liquid dispersions. Only anionic surfactant systems are available for these LD products. 


Different polymeric and colloidal properties are built into neoprene liquid dispersions to support a variety of applications: 

  • Pressure-sensitive, heat- or solvent-activated adhesives for laminating and contact bonding 

  • Binders are used as saturants and wet-end additives in fibrous products such as paper, nonwovens, bonded batts, and resilient surfacing aggregates. 

  • Industrial and decorative coatings

  • Elasticized asphalt and concrete, and foam. 

Black Neoprene

These plated Neoprene sheets are weather-resistant, have a mild resistance to petroleum-based fluids, and have strong physical properties.

White Neoprene

White neoprene food grade rubber sheet is suitable for food and beverage industries with high security and no use of additives. It has high properties of fire industry UL as well.

Uses of Neoprene

Neoprene has many beneficial properties and because of them, it can be used in a number of industries. Its uses are as follows:

  • Electrical and Electronic Applications- Because of its fire and static resistance, neoprene is widely used as an insulator in power transformers, light bulbs, cables, and other electrical applications. For the same reason, it's often used as a shield for electronics like laptops.

  • Safety Equipment Uses- Neoprene fabric is suitable for gloves and other protective wear because of its ability to work in a wide range of temperatures while providing thermal resistance and staying flexible. The oil, chemical, and water resistance of neoprene add to the defence. 

  • Marine Uses-  Because of its water and thermal resistance, neoprene is also used in wetsuits and diving suits—nitrogen is added to improve insulation, which improves overall buoyancy, so the suits must be weighted to avoid floating or dragging the diver back to the surface.

  • Automotive Uses- Neoprene is abrasion, tear, solvent, oil, and weather-resistant, as well as heat and fireproof, and can be used to produce automotive parts. Window and door seals, hose covers, belts, vibration mounts, and shock absorber seals all contain it. 

  • Medical Uses of Neoprene- Neoprene is used to make supports and braces, such as hand, knee, and elbow supports, due to its flexibility, wearability, and ability to maintain its shape over time. 

  • Packaging Uses- Used for packaging since neoprene is a soft rubber by nature, it's strong padding and reinforcement material for some delicate applications.

Did You Know?

Industrial applications of Neoprene:

The material's chemical inertness makes it suitable for industrial applications such as corrosion-resistant coatings and as a foundation for various adhesives. Owing to its heat and static resistance, neoprene is also used in sealing gaskets, especially in electrical applications.

Before you learn the preparation of Neoprene, you must study Neoprene and how it is different from natural rubber. 

Neoprene is the group of rubbers created by the chemical process of polymerization of chloroprene. It has good chemical resilience and keeps good flexibility over a wide array of temperatures.

Vedantu has given detailed knowledge about Neoprene to help students with their exams. The chemistry experts available at the Vedantu have compiled these notes. You can subscribe to pro classes to learn from them, which will assist you in your preparation journey.  

Learn Neoprene with Vedantu

With a thorough explanation of Neoprene, preparation of Neoprene and its several types, you understand the basics of the topic that clears most of the doubts from your mind. Chemistry subject matter experts have crafted detailed notes covering all contents from the chapter. In the notes, you encounter different examples and images in connection to Neoprene. Hence, all these things will benefit you to retain the learning for a longer period. 

In the notes, you will find the use of Neoprene in today’s time to carry different activities. And the industrial application of the Neoprene to reduce the burden from the natural resource.

Key Points of Neoprene

Although experts have covered all the required points from the topic in the notes, there are a few concepts that students must study carefully from an exam point of view. 

Some must key points to learn from the Vedantu notes on Neoprene:

  • A detailed explanation of the preparation of Neoprene

  • Properties of the Neoprene. To experience the behaviour of the product, you must understand the different properties it possesses.

  • Applications of the Neoprene

Any product which is manufactured has a definite work to perform. Synthesis Neoprene benefits a lot of different industries with its numerous applications. E.g., automobile, food, chemical etc. 

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is Neoprene a good insulator?

Neoprene insulation- Aquatics is the science of water. Neoprene is a common material used to make protective clothing for water sports. Fly fishing waders and wetsuits are usually made of foamed neoprene, which provides excellent protection against the cold.

2. Does Neoprene resist heat?

Neoprene is designed to operate in oil and chemical industries, but its properties make it equally fit as heat resistant. It can withstand burning and high temperatures. It can operate up to 200°F if the temperature goes beyond 200°F, it starts to get stiff. Neoprene does not burn until its temperature reaches 500°F. Fire door seals and Firemen suspenders are perfect examples of Neoprene used to resist heat. Use Vedantu Notes to know various facts about Neoprene prepared by the best chemistry teachers of India.

3. Is Neoprene superior to nitrile?

Nitrile offers resistance to oil and solvent across a wide array of temperatures. This synthetic rubber has exceptional resistance to engine oil and gasoline, good resistance to acids, and superior resistance to petroleum products hydraulic fluids. On the other side, Neoprene rubber has average resistance to oils and petroleum products, but it has significant resistance to sunlight, ozone, and weather. Note that both nitrile and Neoprene have the same properties, but their applications make them different from each other.

4. Why should you read about Neoprene from Vedantu?

Neoprene is a factual topic that covers the different polymeric reactions to explain the preparation process of Neoprene. In the notes, Vedantu tirelessly tried to simplify complex things, but chemical reactions are best explained in the presence of teachers only. Chemistry experts explain every chemical reaction with the help of animations and practical examples that clears the doubts from students' minds, and even if anyone has, Vedantu’s one-on-one sessions with teachers provide the best platform to clear your doubts. 

5. Write down the difference between natural rubber and synthetic rubber?

Natural rubber is polyisoprene, which has monomer units of isoprene, i.e., 2-methyl-1,3 butadiene. Natural rubber is made available by the solid particles suspended in a milky white liquid, i.e., latex that leaks from the bark of certain tropical and subtropical trees. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber. 2-chloro-1,3-butadiene is a monomer of Neoprene, which is typically chloroprene. The natural rubber has flexibility, resistance, and strength, but Neoprene is famous for its weather and flame resistance.