Neoprene
Overview
 
Neoprene or polychloroprene is a family of synthetic rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

s that are produced by polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

ization of chloroprene
Chloroprene
Chloroprene is the common name for the organic compound 2-chlorobuta-1,3-diene, which has the formula CH2=CCl-CH=CH2. This colorless liquid is the monomer for the production of the polymer polychloroprene, a type of synthetic rubber...

. Neoprene in general has good chemical stability, and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range. It is used in a wide variety of applications, such as laptop sleeves, orthopedic braces (wrist, knee, etc.), electrical
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 insulation
Electrical insulation
thumb|250px|[[Coaxial Cable]] with dielectric insulator supporting a central coreThis article refers to electrical insulation. For insulation of heat, see Thermal insulation...

, liquid and sheet applied elastomeric membranes or flashings, and car
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 fan belt
Belt (mechanical)
A belt is a loop of flexible material used to link two or more rotating shafts mechanically. Belts may be used as a source of motion, to transmit power efficiently, or to track relative movement. Belts are looped over pulleys. In a two pulley system, the belt can either drive the pulleys in the...

s.

A foamed neoprene containing gas cells is used as an insulation material, most notably in wetsuit
Wetsuit
A wetsuit is a garment, usually made of foamed neoprene, which is worn by surfers, divers, windsurfers, canoeists, and others engaged in water sports, providing thermal insulation, abrasion resistance and buoyancy. The insulation properties depend on bubbles of gas enclosed within the material,...

s.
Encyclopedia
Neoprene or polychloroprene is a family of synthetic rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

s that are produced by polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

ization of chloroprene
Chloroprene
Chloroprene is the common name for the organic compound 2-chlorobuta-1,3-diene, which has the formula CH2=CCl-CH=CH2. This colorless liquid is the monomer for the production of the polymer polychloroprene, a type of synthetic rubber...

. Neoprene in general has good chemical stability, and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range. It is used in a wide variety of applications, such as laptop sleeves, orthopedic braces (wrist, knee, etc.), electrical
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 insulation
Electrical insulation
thumb|250px|[[Coaxial Cable]] with dielectric insulator supporting a central coreThis article refers to electrical insulation. For insulation of heat, see Thermal insulation...

, liquid and sheet applied elastomeric membranes or flashings, and car
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 fan belt
Belt (mechanical)
A belt is a loop of flexible material used to link two or more rotating shafts mechanically. Belts may be used as a source of motion, to transmit power efficiently, or to track relative movement. Belts are looped over pulleys. In a two pulley system, the belt can either drive the pulleys in the...

s.

A foamed neoprene containing gas cells is used as an insulation material, most notably in wetsuit
Wetsuit
A wetsuit is a garment, usually made of foamed neoprene, which is worn by surfers, divers, windsurfers, canoeists, and others engaged in water sports, providing thermal insulation, abrasion resistance and buoyancy. The insulation properties depend on bubbles of gas enclosed within the material,...

s. Foamed neoprene is also used in other insulation and shock-protection (packing) applications.

History

Neoprene was invented by DuPont scientists on April 17, 1930 after Dr. Elmer K. Bolton
Elmer Keiser Bolton
Elmer Keiser Bolton was an American chemist and research director for DuPont, notable for his role in developing neoprene and directing the research that led to the discovery of nylon.- Personal life :...

 of DuPont
DuPont
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company , commonly referred to as DuPont, is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802 as a gunpowder mill by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. DuPont was the world's third largest chemical company based on market capitalization and ninth based on revenue in 2009...

 laboratories attended a lecture by Fr. Julius Arthur Nieuwland, a professor of chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 at the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

. Fr. Nieuwland's research was focused on acetylene
Acetylene
Acetylene is the chemical compound with the formula C2H2. It is a hydrocarbon and the simplest alkyne. This colorless gas is widely used as a fuel and a chemical building block. It is unstable in pure form and thus is usually handled as a solution.As an alkyne, acetylene is unsaturated because...

 chemistry and during the course of his work he produced divinyl acetylene, a jelly that firms into an elastic compound similar to rubber when passed over sulfur dichloride
Sulfur dichloride
Sulfur dichloride is the chemical compound with the formula SCl2. This cherry-red liquid is the simplest sulfur chloride and one of the most common. It is used as a precursor to organosulfur compounds.-Chlorination of sulfur:...

. After DuPont purchased the patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 rights from the university, Wallace Carothers
Wallace Carothers
Wallace Hume Carothers was an American chemist, inventor and the leader of organic chemistry at DuPont, credited with the invention of nylon....

 of DuPont took over commercial development of Nieuwland's discovery in collaboration with Nieuwland himself. DuPont focused on monovinyl acetylene and reacted the substance with hydrogen chloride
Hydrogen chloride
The compound hydrogen chloride has the formula HCl. At room temperature, it is a colorless gas, which forms white fumes of hydrochloric acid upon contact with atmospheric humidity. Hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid are important in technology and industry...

 gas, manufacturing chloroprene
Chloroprene
Chloroprene is the common name for the organic compound 2-chlorobuta-1,3-diene, which has the formula CH2=CCl-CH=CH2. This colorless liquid is the monomer for the production of the polymer polychloroprene, a type of synthetic rubber...

.

DuPont first marketed the compound in 1931 under the trade name DuPrene, but its ability to be commercialized was hindered by the original manufacturing process, which left the product with a foul odor. A new process was developed, which eliminated the odor-causing byproducts and halved production costs, and the company began selling the material to manufacturers of finished end-products. To prevent shoddy manufacturers from harming the product's reputation, the trademark DuPrene was restricted to apply only to the material sold by DuPont. Since the company itself did not manufacture any DuPrene-containing end products, the trademark was dropped in 1937 and replaced with a generic name, neoprene, in an attempt "to signify that the material is an ingredient, not a finished consumer product." DuPont then worked extensively to generate demand for its product, implementing a marketing strategy that included publishing its own technical journal, which extensively publicized neoprene's uses as well as advertised other companies' neoprene-based products. By 1939, sales of neoprene were generating profits over $300,000 for the company.

General

Neoprene's chemical inertness makes it well suited for industrial applications such as gasket
Gasket
thumb|sright|250px|Some seals and gaskets1. [[o-ring]]2. fiber [[Washer |washer]]3. paper gaskets4. [[cylinder head]] [[head gasket|gasket]]...

s, hose
Hose (tubing)
A hose is a hollow tube designed to carry fluids from one location to another. Hoses are also sometimes called pipes , or more generally tubing...

s, and corrosion
Corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

-resistant coating
Coating
Coating is a covering that is applied to the surface of an object, usually referred to as the substrate. In many cases coatings are applied to improve surface properties of the substrate, such as appearance, adhesion, wetability, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and scratch resistance...

s. It can be used as a base for adhesive
Adhesive
An adhesive, or glue, is a mixture in a liquid or semi-liquid state that adheres or bonds items together. Adhesives may come from either natural or synthetic sources. The types of materials that can be bonded are vast but they are especially useful for bonding thin materials...

s, noise isolation in power transformer
Transformer
A transformer is a device that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another through inductively coupled conductors—the transformer's coils. A varying current in the first or primary winding creates a varying magnetic flux in the transformer's core and thus a varying magnetic field...

 installations, and as padding in external metal cases to protect the contents while allowing a snug fit. It resists burning better than exclusively hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 based rubbers, resulting in its appearance in weather stripping for fire door
Fire door
A fire door is a door with a fire-resistance rating used as part of a passive fire protection system to reduce the spread of fire or smoke between compartments and to enable safe egress from a building or structure or ship...

s and in combat related attire such as gloves and face masks. Neoprene is also used as a contrast in some jewelry designs.

Aquatics

Neoprene is commonly used as a material for fly fishing
Fly fishing
Fly fishing is an angling method in which an artificial 'fly' is used to catch fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod, reel, and specialized weighted line. Casting a nearly weightless fly or 'lure' requires casting techniques significantly different from other forms of casting...

 waders, as it provides excellent insulation against cold. Neoprene waders are usually about 5 mm thick, and in the medium price range as compared to cheaper materials such as nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 and rubber. However, neoprene is less expensive than breathable fabrics.

In its native state, neoprene is a very pliable rubber-like material, with no better insulating properties than rubber or other solid plastics. For diving and exposure protection applications, neoprene is manufactured by foaming the plastic with nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 gas, for the insulation properties of the tiny enclosed and separated gas bubbles (nitrogen is used for chemical convenience, not because it is superior to air as an insulator). The foam cells thus created also make the material quite buoyant, and the diver must compensate for this by wearing weights. Thick wet suits made at the extreme end of their cold water protection are usually made of 7 mm thick neoprene. Since foam neoprene contains gas pockets, the material compresses under water pressure, getting thinner at greater depths; a 7 mm neoprene wet suit offers much less exposure protection under one hundred feet of water than at the surface. A recent advance in neoprene for wet suits is the "super-flex" variety, which mixes spandex
Spandex
Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fibre known for its exceptional elasticity. It is strong, but less durable than natural Latex, its major non-synthetic competitor. It is a polyurethane-polyurea copolymer that was co-invented in 1959 by chemists C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers at DuPont's...

 into the neoprene for a greater flexibility.

As a result, wetsuit neoprene sheets are manufactured in different grades dependent on the application. Diving suit neoprene is denser and less flexible; this ensures its durability and reduces compression at depth. Sailing wetsuits are never exposed to large compressive forces and contain more gas, so are warmer for the same thickness. Competitive swimming wetsuits are made of the most expanded foam; they have to be very flexible to allow the swimmer unrestricted movement. The downside is that they are quite fragile.

Home accessories

Recently, neoprene has become a favorite material for lifestyle and other home accessories including laptop
Laptop
A laptop, also called a notebook, is a personal computer for mobile use. A laptop integrates most of the typical components of a desktop computer, including a display, a keyboard, a pointing device and speakers into a single unit...

 sleeves, iPod
IPod
iPod is a line of portable media players created and marketed by Apple Inc. The product line-up currently consists of the hard drive-based iPod Classic, the touchscreen iPod Touch, the compact iPod Nano, and the ultra-compact iPod Shuffle...

 holders, remote control
Remote control
A remote control is a component of an electronics device, most commonly a television set, used for operating the television device wirelessly from a short line-of-sight distance.The remote control is usually contracted to remote...

s and cycling chamois. In this market, it sometimes competes with LRPu
LRPu
LRPu or low-resilience polyurethane is a material distinguished by an "ability to slowly return to its original shape" .The resulting impact resistance results in LRPu being used in soft laptop sleeves and other lightweight cases for portable electronic equipment, as an alternative to the softer...

 (low-resilience polyurethane), which is a sturdier (more impact-resistant) but less-used material.

Sports

Also in recent years, Jug, an after-market inline skate liner manufacturer, has incorporated neoprene into the construction of some of their more popular product-lines, citing that neoprene adds reinforcement (ankle support) and guards against abrasions like few materials do. As a simple matter of durability and product lifespan, liners constructed with neoprene additives are typically more expensive than those that are not.

Neoprene is a popular material in the equestrian world as well; it is used in cinches, saddle pads, bareback pads, and many other applications in all disciplines.

It is often used in Airsoft
Airsoft
Airsoft is a sport in which participants shoot round non-metallic pellets launched via replica firearms.Gameplay varies in style and composition but often range from short-term skirmishes, organized scenarios, military simulations, historical reenactments, to competition target shooting events...

 as a protective garment, as it is thin enough to feel the hit, but thick enough to reduce the impact velocity, thus avoiding breakage of the skin by the BB.

Training knives and swords are made of Neoprene for safe self defense instructions, practice, sparring, and martial arts demonstrations.

Music

Musical instrument maker Yamaha
Yamaha
Yamaha may refer to:* Yamaha Corporation, a Japanese company with a wide range of products and services** Yamaha Motor Company, a Japanese motorized vehicle-producing company...

 has begun replacing corks not used for sealing (such as sealing the joints of a clarinet or oboe) with neoprene.
Neoprene is also used for drum practice pads.

Hydroponic Gardening

Hydroponic
Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, or coconut husk.Researchers discovered in the 18th...

 and aerated gardening systems make use of small neoprene inserts to hold plants in place while propagating cuttings, or using net cups. Inserts are relatively small, ranging in size from 1.5" to 5". Neoprene is a good choice for supporting plants because of its flexibility and softness, allowing plants to be held securely in place without the chance of causing damage to the stem. Neoprene root covers also help block out light from entering the rooting chamber of hydroponic systems, allowing for better root growth and to help deter the growth of algae.

Other

Neoprene is used for Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

 masks and masks used for face protection, for insulating CPU socket
CPU socket
A CPU socket or CPU slot is a mechanical component that provides mechanical and electrical connections between a microprocessor and a printed circuit board . This allows the CPU to be replaced without soldering....

s, to make waterproof automotive seat covers, in liquid and sheet-applied elastomeric roof membranes or flashings, and in a neoprene-spandex
Spandex
Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fibre known for its exceptional elasticity. It is strong, but less durable than natural Latex, its major non-synthetic competitor. It is a polyurethane-polyurea copolymer that was co-invented in 1959 by chemists C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers at DuPont's...

 mixture for manufacture of wheelchair
Wheelchair
A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, designed to be a replacement for walking. The device comes in variations where it is propelled by motors or by the seated occupant turning the rear wheels by hand. Often there are handles behind the seat for someone else to do the pushing...

 positioning harnesses. Because of its chemical resistance and overall durability, neoprene is sometimes used in the manufacture of dishwashing gloves, especially as an alternative to latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

. In fashion, neoprene has been used by designers such as Gareth Pugh
Gareth Pugh
Gareth Pugh is an English fashion designer. He currently lives and works in Paris.-Career:At 14, Pugh began working as a costume designer for the English National Youth Theatre. He started his fashion education at City of Sunderland College and finished his degree in Fashion Design at Central...

, Balenciaga
Balenciaga
Balenciaga is a fashion house founded by Cristóbal Balenciaga, a Basque designer, born in the Basque Country, Spain. He had a reputation as a couturier of uncompromising standards and was referred to as "the master of us all" by Christian Dior. His bubble skirts and odd, feminine, yet ultra-modern...

, Lanvin
Lanvin (clothing)
Lanvin is a high fashion house founded by Jeanne Lanvin.-History:Lanvin made such beautiful clothes for her daughter that they began to attract the attention of a number of wealthy people who requested copies for their own children...

 and Vera Wang
Vera Wang
Vera Ellen Wang is a Chinese American fashion designer based in New York City and former figure skater. She is known for her wide clientele of couture bridesmaid gowns and wedding gown collections.-Personal life:...

.

Precautions

Although neoprene itself is not a skin contact sensitizer, certain neoprene adhesives contain 4% rosin
Rosin
.Rosin, also called colophony or Greek pitch , is a solid form of resin obtained from pines and some other plants, mostly conifers, produced by heating fresh liquid resin to vaporize the volatile liquid terpene components. It is semi-transparent and varies in color from yellow to black...

 (CAS No. 8050-09-7, previously known as "colophony"), which is a skin contact sensitizer under the European Union Dangerous Preparations Directive 1999/45/EC.

Some people are allergic to neoprene while others can get dermatitis from thiourea
Thiourea
Thiourea is an organosulfur compound of with the formula SC2 . It is structurally similar to urea, except that the oxygen atom is replaced by a sulfur atom, but the properties of urea and thiourea differ significantly. Thiourea is a reagent in organic synthesis. "Thioureas" refers to a broad...

, a compound used to vulcanize rubber into neoprene which can be left over after the manufacturing process.
Lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

-containing compounds, such as litharge
Litharge
Litharge is one of the natural mineral forms of lead oxide, PbO. Litharge is a secondary mineral which forms from the oxidation of galena ores. It forms as coatings and encrustations with internal tetragonal crystal structure. It is dimorphous with the orthorhombic form massicot...

 (lead(II) oxide), are used as compounding agents to prepare finished products made of neoprene, and these can have a toxic effect on human blood, kidneys, and reproductive systems.
The most frequently used accelerator in the vulcanization
Vulcanization
Vulcanization or vulcanisation is a chemical process for converting rubber or related polymers into more durable materials via the addition of sulfur or other equivalent "curatives." These additives modify the polymer by forming crosslinks between individual polymer chains. Vulcanized material is...

of polychloroprene is ethylene thiourea (ETU). Although being an excellent and proven accelerator for polychloroprene, ETU has been classified as reprotoxic. The European rubber industry has started a research project SafeRubber to develop a safer alternative to the use of ETU.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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