Neoprene® is a synthetic rubber that is also commonly known as chloroprene and polychloroprene. This rubber was first invented by DuPont Company in 1930. The name chloroprene stems from its content of chlorine. Applications of Neoprene® vary from cable insulation, to gaskets, to belts, and to many other applications. The benefit of chlorine within the polymer gives the rubber certain benefits such as the ability to resist swelling by oils, and other hydrocarbons. Neoprene® is a multi-purpose rubber and has been used as such in the industry.
Neoprene® is normally supplied in black, although it may come in different colors. The black comes from the filler, carbon black. Carbon black is added to the polymer to give the rubber strength and elasticity. There are many studies on the effects of carbon black on rubbers and the theory behind the effect.
Neoprene® is known for its high durability, and natural tensile strength. Although, Neoprene® can be supplied as a commercial grade, it can also be supplied in accordance with (IAW) a military or commercial standard, a few standards to note are MIL-R-6855E, MIL-R-3065, and the superseding document ASTMD2000. When being supplied under a specific standard, acronyms may become important. For example, under ASTM D1418 Neoprene® is listed as CR. Under ASTM D2000, Neoprene® is listed as BC or BE. These standards dictate the different requirements the rubber compound must adhere to. For example, MIL-R-6855E has a Class, Type and Grade callout. The Class would be the resistance to fuels, the Type would be the resistance to Ozone, and the Grade would correspond with the durometer.
The shelf life on Neoprene® varies from manufacturer to manufacturer but generally Neoprene®’s shelf life is 5 to 10 years. Although the shelf life may change depending on the specification the Neoprene® is manufactured to.
Neoprene® can be supplied in sheet stock, cord stock (extrusion), molded o-rings, vulcanized o-rings, die-cut parts, waterjet cut parts, and many other forms. Most manufacturers supply Neoprene® in standard thicknesses, including but not limited to .020”, .031”, .062” .125”, .250” and .500”. Due to NEDC unique capabilities, NEDC is able to supply Neoprene® die-cuts and waterjet-cuts in any thickness between the thicknesses listed above. NEDC can additionally compression mold Neoprene®, whether it be specific shapes and sizes or o-rings.