Neoprene rubber sheeting and closed cell foam neoprene are the ideal materials for heavy-duty industrial gaskets and seals due to their excellent chemical and physical properties. As a synthetic elastomer, neoprene rubber sheeting is a more reliable option when working with harsh solvents and hot temperatures. Oftentimes, the machinery and equipment commonly used in industrial workplaces can involve oils, chemicals, or extreme heat which will damage other materials; however, a neoprene rubber gasket or seal is able to withstand these damaging factors. Natural rubber and other common gasketing materials, such as plastic or cork, are not equipped to handle such harsh applications and will deteriorate or break which can lead to industrial workers being exposed to toxic materials and solvents. A neoprene rubber gasket retains superior oil, chemical, and heat-resistance qualities that make it a durable and reliable option for keeping a safe work environment.
What is the Function of a Gasket?
The main function of a gasket is to provide a protective barrier between two hard surfaces to prevent them from making contact with each other and causing damage. Gaskets are generally made using natural or synthetic rubber materials due to their superior impact absorption qualities and flexibility. These qualities of synthetic and natural rubber are ideal because “a gasket is a mechanical seal which filles the space between two or more mating surfaces, generally to prevent leakage from or into the joined objects while under compression” (Wikipedia.org). Because they are used for heavy-duty applications in abrasive industrial setting, a neoprene rubber gasket must be able to withstand the constant stresses of being compressed or stretched out.
Rubber in general, whether natural or synthetic, are ideal materials for gaskets due to their high tensile strength and low compression set. Tensile strength refers to the “maximum load that a material can support without fracture when being stretched, divided by the original cross-sectional area of the material” (Britannica.com). When a material retains a high tensile strength, they can be stretched out to extreme lengths without breaking. Compression set refers to “the amount of permanent deformation that occurs when a material is compressed to a specific deformation, for a specified time, at a specific temperature” (sciencedirect.com). A material with a low compression set is able to be compressed under extreme pressure for long periods of time without suffering permanent disfigurations from the stress caused by the pressure. Neoprene rubber sheeting retains both a high tensile strength and a low compression set making neoprene the ideal material for industrial gasketing.
What are the Different Types of Neoprene Gaskets?
A neoprene rubber gasket is often available in two types: solid and closed cell foam. Neoprene rubber sheeting, also known as polychloroprene, has the unique ability to resist the damaging effects of oil and grease which makes it a popular material for industrial use. It is also popularly used outdoors due to its resistance to weathering, UV rays, ozone, and moisture; although, moisture-resistance varies between solid and foam neoprene. Industrial workplaces are also areas where gaskets can be exposed to extreme heat which makes it important to find a heat-resistant gasket to prevent hazards in the workplace. Most rubber gaskets, such as those made of natural rubber, cannot handle extreme temperatures; however, a neoprene rubber gasket retains a high operating temperature of up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and has a high level of chemical-resistance. A solid or closed cell neoprene rubber gasket is suitable for highly abrasive applications in industrial settings making them versatile and durable products.
What is a Neoprene Gasket?
A solid neoprene rubber gasket is most often used for heavy-duty applications involving oils, chemicals, and heavy impacts. Hard neoprene gaskets are significantly stronger than the closed cell foam variations. A solid neoprene rubber gasket can resist abrasions and provide heavy-duty equipment protection with its excellent impact-absorption properties. Solid neoprene rubber sheeting is offered in different levels of durometer hardness ranging from 45A to 80A. When determining the hardness of neoprene rubber sheeting, it is important to remember that, as the number of the durometer rating goes up, the harder the material becomes. For instance, 45A durometer neoprene is a significantly softer material than those of higher durometers, but is still a durable and strong material ideal for a heavy-duty gasket. A neoprene rubber gasket with a durometer rating of 45A is generally used for applications that require higher compressibility. Neoprene rubber sheeting with higher durometer ratings, such as 70A or 80A, will have better impact absorption, but will have a decreased level of flexibility and pliability.
What is a Foam Neoprene Gasket?
A foam neoprene rubber gasket is a far less dense than a solid neoprene gasket and are ideally used for highly compressive applications. Gaskets made of foam neoprene are characterized by the gaseous pockets within the structure of the neoprene. Industrial settings involve heavy equipment and machinery that may need more compressibility rather than impact absorption. Due to the structural difference between hard and cellular neoprene, closed cell neoprene foam generally has a high compressive strength and a lower absorption rate. Additionally, the pockets of air within its composition allowing for more efficient energy absorption. Although foam neoprene is a porous material, closed cell neoprene foam features a tight knit structure that allows for an extremely low absorption rate of less than 5%. A closed cell neoprene rubber gasket is a popular product commonly used in marine applications due to its moisture-resistance.
Closed cell neoprene foam is also often used for weatherstripping and packing purposes. Weatherstripping refers to “the process of sealing openings such as doors, windows, and trunks from the elements” (Wikipedia.org). A neoprene rubber gasket made out of closed cell foam neoprene is the ideal material for weatherstripping due to its resistance to weather and permanent deformation after being under pressure. Often times, neoprene gaskets are used to seal car and home windows which subjects them to constant compressive stress. Neoprene foam has better compressive properties than solid neoprene making it the ideal material for these applications. A neoprene rubber gasket can also be used in packing to help keep the items inside from becoming damaged. Closed cell foam neoprene is an excellent material for protection due to its cushioning and vibration dampening properties. Most packages are tossed and thrown during transit which can lead to broken items; however, lightweight closed cell foam neoprene can provide cushioning for items inside packages to help prevent damage while in transit.
What is a Neoprene Seal?
Neoprene seals are protective coverings used to prevent leakage from industrial machinery and equipment. Neoprene seals, in particular, are highly prized for industrial applications due to its high levels of chemical and oil-resistance. Not only are they used to prevent leaks from industrial machinery, but neoprene seals can also be used to “hold pressure, and deflect contamination at interfaces between components” (fastenerengineering.com). As an elastomer, neoprene rubber is able to stretch to great lengths and return to its original shape without damage making it the ideal material for high pressure sealing applications. Industrial seals are often used to seal in harsh solvents including chemicals and oil that can be hazardous if not sealed correctly using a reliable material. Neoprene seals are oil, gas, moisture, and heat-resistant, meaning it will not break down when coming into contact with these harsh and damaging factors. Seals made of other materials, such as natural rubber or plastic, will not be able to withstand the harsh environments of industrial workplaces and lead to an unsafe work environment.
Industrial workplaces are unforgiving environments where corrosive chemicals, oils, and extreme temperatures are constantly in use. Neoprene rubber sheeting offers enhanced chemical and physical properties that is able to withstand these abrasive applications. In addition, despite its porous nature, closed cell foam neoprene is also an extremely popular material used in the construction of neoprene seals and gaskets due to its high degree of compressibility that surpasses even its solid rubber counterpart. Because neoprene seals and gaskets are often used in applications where corrosive solvents are involved, it is important to use the correct material to prevent these gaskets and seals from breaking and causing workplace hazards. A neoprene rubber gasket will provide a resilient and reliable application that cannot be achieved by other popular gasketing materials, including natural rubber, PVC, and cork.