Have you ever wondered what wetsuits are made up of? Do you know the name of the first commercially successful synthetic rubber? The answer to both of these questions is neoprene. Manufactured by DuPont in 1930, neoprene is also known as polychloroprene. The synthetic rubber was originally intended to be used as an oil-resistant substitute for natural rubber. With time, the benefits of using neoprene has diversified across various industries like automotive, civil engineering, sports, aquatics, and hydroponic gardening. The global neoprene market (based on consumption) was valued at 340 kilotons in 2015. According to the analysts at Technavio, the global neoprene consumption is expected to reach 445 kilotons by 2020, recording a CAGR of 5.53%
5 Key Benefits of Using Neoprene in Industrial Products
#1 Immense physical toughness
This is perhaps one of the greatest advantages to using neoprene. Its outstanding physical toughness makes it an excellent all-purpose rubber. Its physical and chemical properties make it heat, chemical, oil and ozone resistant, especially when compared to regular rubber. Another beneficial property of neoprene is its excellent elastic metal bonding ability, which is the reason why it is widely used in the medical and automotive industries. Further, neoprene is used in the making of protective gears, clothing items like aprons and gloves, and in the manufacturing of tires, as it provides safety and improves vehicle performance.
#2 Adhesive and resistant to solvents
The current global adhesives market is dominated by neoprene-based solvent-borne adhesives. Because neoprene has excellent adhesive properties and is resistant to solvents, it is increasingly being used in the manufacturing of custom display cabinets, automotive trim, high-pressure laminates, kitchen cabinets, furniture, wall partitions, and even shoe soles. In fact, the US shoe industry is currently the largest consumer of neoprene adhesives.
#3 Water and weather resistant
Neoprene is water resistant, exhibits good chemical stability, and maintains flexibility when subject to a wide range of temperatures. It is able to resist degradation from ozone, sunlight, oxidation, sand, snow, and dust – essentially all weather conditions. Given its incredible durability, neoprene is used in the creation of laptop sleeves, orthopedic braces, swimwear, wetsuits, camera bags, fishing waders, etc.
#4 Provides cushioning and protection
As neoprene comes in various thicknesses and densities, it provides appropriate cushioning as well as strong protection. This makes it ideal for protective coverings for computers and other devices, as well as ankle and knee braces.
#5 Latex free
Latex is a very common allergy. Because neoprene is synthetic in nature, it is completely latex free, which makes it ideal for use in the manufacturing of emergency and medical goods like casts, dental dams, gloves, bandages, etc. Additionally, as the demand for sport shoe soles continues to increase, the market for neoprene will consequently expand.
Growth in the automotive industry, rise in construction projects, and increasing demand for good quality synthetic rubber is proof that the benefits of neoprene extend across several verticals, leading many countries to invest heavily in the neoprene market.