When considering using neoprene sheets or rolls for an application, it is important to determine its durometer. Neoprene’s durometer rating determines its application, durability, flexibility, and pliability. There are two different scales, Shore A and Shore CC, that are used to measure solid neoprene and soft neoprene, such as closed and open cell foam. Hard neoprene with durometer ratings of 60A or 70A are better suited for heavy-duty applications. Soft neoprene, such as 45A durometer neoprene and foam neoprene, are best used where compressibility is valued. Neoprene elastomers are prized for their wide range of durometers to choose from and their flexibility, durability, and range of applications. Neoprene’s wide array of chemical and physical properties make it valued as an all-purpose elastomer with a large selection of durometers that makes finding the perfect neoprene product simple.
How Hard is Neoprene?
Neoprene sheets generally has a hardness level ranging from 45A to 80A. Soft neoprene sheets of the 45 Shore A variation is much more flexible and pliable than those of a higher durometer rating. Neoprene with a higher durometer tends to be stiffer with less flexibility and limited pliability. Despite differences in durometer, neoprene has an operating temperature range of -20 degrees Fahrenheit to 212 degrees Fahrenheit; sometimes, with a higher durometer, it can withstand even higher temperatures. In addition, neoprene elastomers exhibit a moderate degree of oil-resistance and excellent chemical-resistance properties. While neoprene rubber sheet is generally abrasion-resistant, the level of resilience varies depending on the density of neoprene; therefore, it is important to take into consideration the nature of the application when choosing neoprene products.
Is Higher Durometer Neoprene Harder?
The higher the number of a durometer means the harder the material. A durometer device drives an indenter through the material at a constant and steady rate to measure the depth of the indentation. This depth is then used to determine the hardness of a material on a scale of 1 to 100. For example, if the indenter is able to penetrate the material completely, the durometer will read 0; however, if the indenter is unable to penetrate the material at all, the durometer will read 100. Testing durometer must be done on neoprene sheets that are at least 1/4-inch thick to thicker. Thinner materials will not have enough “meat” for an accurate test result and the device will end up reading the durometer of the surface below the material. The density of neoprene will go up with the durometer and each durometer will have different levels of resistance.
How is Foam Neoprene Hardness Measured?
Foam hardness is measure with the Shore C scale of measuring durometer. Neoprene foam variations are not as dense as solid neoprene and cannot be measured using the Shore A scale. Foam neoprene is made by introducing air to the composition of the material during its production process making it a lighter and less dense. The Shore C scale is generally used for measuring the durometer of softer materials such as bicycle seat gel or foam rubbers. While foam neoprene sheet is not as durable as solid hard neoprene that is measured on the Shore A scale, it does have better compressibility due to its air-filled matrix. Therefore, soft neoprene foam is generally used where compressible and pliable materials are needed.
Why Does Neoprene Stretch?
Neoprene is able to stretch out to extreme lengths and return to its original form without damage because it is an elastomer. For instance, “Wetsuits can stretch five to six times their original length, which is why neoprene is used for this purpose” (sciencing.com). An elastomer, according to Britannica, is “any rubbery material composed of long chainlike molecules, or polymers, that are capable of recovering their original shape after being stretched to great extents—hence the name elastomer, from ‘elastic polymer’” (britannica.com). Neoprene elastomers’ flexibility is dependent on its durometer which is directly linked to its pliability. Neoprene that has the durometer of 45 Shore A, for example, is an extremely pliable piece of material while hard neoprene that has the durometer of 80 Shore A is much stiffer and will be harder to stretch.
How is Neoprene Rubber Durometer Measured?
Neoprene rubber durometer is measured and determined by the durometer shore hardness scale. All rubbers are measured for their hardness which is “a material’s resistance to permanent indentation” (wikipedia.org). The durometer device was invented in 1920 by a metallurgist by the name of Albert F. Shore to measure polymer and elastomer durometer. Neoprene rubber is measured in the Shore A scale, a scale that is meant for softer and more pliable rubbers and plastics. The Shore C scale is used for even softer materials, such as foam, while the Shore D scale measures harder materials. Durometer is important to consider, especially if the project requires heavy-duty protection.
How Hard is 45A Durometer Neoprene?
45A durometer neoprene is a significantly softer material than those of higher durometers, but it is still a durable and strong material. 45A neoprene elastomers are made with a blend of SBR to give it a unique set of resistance properties. 45A soft neoprene is one of the most flexible neoprene elastomers available on the market. Although it is not as resistant to physical abrasion as higher durometer neoprene products, but it is still moderately resistant to abrasions. With its softer nature, it is ideal for light to regular commercial use that may involve certain chemicals such as salts, acids, and gases. Many choose 45A durometer neoprene when searching for flexible, yet durable, gasket parts.
How Hard is 70A Durometer Neoprene?
70A durometer neoprene can be compared to the hardness of rubber shoe soles. Right below 80A hard neoprene, 70A durometer neoprene is a hard and resilient material that can withstand physical abrasions and impacts without being damaged. Due to its ability to endure the stress and abused of heavy and repeated physical impacts, 70A hard neoprene is suitable for heavy-duty floor or equipment protection against falling objects or clashing equipment. Additionally, because of its higher durometer, 70A durometer neoprene has a higher temperature range than neoprene of lower durometers, ranging from -20 degrees Fahrenheit to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is 60A Durometer Neoprene?
60A durometer neoprene has a medium-range hardness that is commonly used in all-purpose industrial products. While not quite as hard as neoprene with a durometer rating of 70A or higher, 60A durometer neoprene is still very hard and durable allowing it to sometimes be used as an alternative to 70A hard neoprene. However, this depends on the nature of the application and how physically damaging it is. 60A hard neoprene is extremely popular for use as industrial rubber parts such as seals, gaskets, and bumpers because its durable and elastic structure allows for sufficient protection against impacts and abrasions. Since 60A durometer neoprene features a moderate level of pliability, it is extremely popular for applications that need flexible durability.
Neoprene rubber is available in solid form and in a variety of durometer ratings ranging from 45A to 80A durometer neoprene. As the durometer rating climbs higher so, too, does its durability, flexibility, and pliability. The density of neoprene determines its abrasion-resistance and pliability of the material. 45A durometer neoprene is a fairly soft form that excels in applications where a high level of compressibility is required while 60A hard neoprene and up, excel in more abrasive environments. Despite its ranging durometer ratings, neoprene elastomers exhibit excellent chemical and physical properties that make it a durable all-purpose material.
How Hard is Neoprene?