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 divinylacetylene 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 (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 degrees Fahrenheit. When working at temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, however, neoprene stiffens and becomes unusable for most applications by the time it reaches -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
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
The colloidal dispersions of polychloroprene or copolymers of chloroprene and other monomers such as sulfur, 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.
These plated Neoprene Sheets are weather-resistant, have a mild resistance to petroleum-based fluids, and have strong physical properties.
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
Because of its many beneficial properties, neoprene can be used in a number of industries. Among its uses are:
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.
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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.