Neoprene rubber sheets, also known as chloroprene, is a great synthetic elastomer that is valued for its many desirable properties. For the most part, this elastomer is engineered to have properties such as: high tensile strength, resilience, oil and flame resistance, and resistance to degradation by oxygen and ozone. Of course, there are some variations in neoprene elastomer, and so it is imperative that you know for certain which properties your neoprene pad or other similar product possesses. Still, this type of elastomer is highly desired commercially and industrially, but it has one unfortunate pitfall. In the world of synthetic elastomers, chloroprene is not necessarily the most cost effective. So, while it may be more costly to use as a product, it does still provide a number of options for applications. Does this one negative factor outweigh all of the beneficial qualities it possesses? It is up to you to develop your own informed opinion.
Neoprene, also called neoprene CR, is a synthetic elastomer produced by the polymerization of chloroprene. The molecular interlinking needed for vulcanizing this polymer to a cured rubber product it usually affected through the chlorine atom. The presence of chlorine in the molecular structure causes this elastomer to resist swelling by hydrocarbon oils, to have greater resistance to oxidation and ozone attack, and to possess a measure of flame resistance. This polymer will typically crystallize and slowly harden when exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit; it will also have this effect when stretched. Because of this crystallization, cured components are strong even without fillers such as carbon black added (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/409071/neoprene-CR). This process makes the material excellent for creating a multi-purpose neoprene pad.
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4 Reasons Neoprene Rubber Sheets are Ideal for Varied Applications
The primary applications for neoprene rubber are for products such as wire and cable insulation, hoses, belts, springs, gaskets, flexible mounts, and adhesives where resistance to oil, flame/heat, and abrasion are needed. Because of its wide range of uses, it has been deemed the “all-purpose” rubber, and rightfully so. Here is a brief outline of its commonly known properties, as well as the applications that those properties are best suited for:
- Oil Resistance: Neoprene elastomer usually has a good resistance to mineral oils and silicone oils and greases. Because of this good chemical resistance it is ideal for hose, gasket, and adhesive applications.
- Flame/Heat Resistance: Neoprene rubber resists burning better than exclusively hydrocarbon based rubbers which has resulted in its appearance in weather stripping for fire doors and in combat related attire, such as gloves and face masks.
- Resistance to Oxygen and Ozone Degradation: With a moderate resistance to ozone and weathering, this elastomer can be used for many outdoor applications with little risk of decreased performance.
- Tensile Strength: Neoprene CR rubber is valued for this characteristic which makes it able to return to its original shape without fracture or breakage even when stretched. This makes it ideal for use in warehouses as a conveyor belt or on an assembly line, as well as in other commercial and industrial applications.
Neoprene rubber is a very popular and widely used elastomer in spite of its high cost when compared with other synthetic elastomers. While this may be the case, this type of elastomer is unmatched in the number of uses it can be put forth towards. The qualities and traits neoprene CR rubber possesses causes it to be ideal and easy to use for any number of applications making it an all around general purpose elastomer product industrially and commercially.
When thinking about your specific project or application, a neoprene pad may be the perfect product to suit your needs. With a smooth finish and high pliability and elasticity, products made from neoprene elastomer can be used for applications and projects that are both indoors and outdoors. The possibilities are endless when considering all of the qualities and characteristics available in neoprene rubber, but if you’re still not convinced that the capabilities are worth the financial cost, make sure to inquire with your selected elastomers provider.