In this article, we look at how Neoprene sheeting has developed over the years, its modern and historical uses and where it all began. This comprehensive guide to Neoprene sheeting in the UK will look at how it has become an important part of modern life.

When was Neoprene invented?

It was first invented by DuPont scientists in 1930. Following the first world war and the expansion of the motor industry, natural Rubber resources were beginning to be stretched. As the global price of Rubber began to increase, several companies set about developing synthetic alternatives. Father Julius Nieuwland, a Professor in Chemistry, gave a lecture in New York and mentioned, in passing, that he’d accidentally come across a Rubber-like material. The research director of DuPont, Elmer Keiser Bolton, was attending this lecture and orchestrated a patent deal with the professor. A team of 28 scientists at DuPont then set out to develop the material for worldwide commercial success.

The original material created was not able to retain its elasticity. Following further development, this newly found synthetic Rubber had a number of attributes that are key to Neoprene today – elasticity and resistance to oil, UV rays and air. DuPont scientists later went on to invent other synthetic Rubbers such as nylon, Teflon and Kevlar.

Did you know?

  • Neoprene was originally named DuPrene but the trademark was discarded in 1937 in favour of Neoprene.
  • Neoprene is the world’s first synthetic Rubber.

Neoprene properties

In this day and age, Neoprene can have a broad variety of characteristics and each variation of the material has different properties and serves alternative purposes. The way that we quantify each Neoprene version is by measuring the following features:

  • Density
  • Compression Deflection
  • Compression set
  • Shrinkage
  • Shore hardness
  • Elongation
  • Temperature range (intermittent and constant)
  • Water absorption
  • Tensile strength
  • Flame resistance
  • Environmental protection

Alanto’s Neoprene specifications have great recovery characteristics when released following compression and are flexible materials that can be used in a range of applications.

What is Neoprene used for?

Since its conception in 1930, Neoprene has become a commercial success and is used throughout the automotive, marine, packaging and logistics and construction industries and more. The most recognisable use of Neoprene is in wetsuits for water sports such as diving and surfing. It’s closed cell formulation is able to stop the ingress of air, dust, chemicals and UV rays.

Neoprene and the Automotive industry
Neoprene is often used in window and door seals with a locking strip, Neoprene hose covers, power transmission belts and breaking and steering components. Its flexibility, high heat tolerance and resistance to chemicals make it an appropriate choice for an unpredictable environment such as the internal mechanisms of a vehicle.

Other applications of Neoprene in the 21st century
Excellent for a range of outdoor applications due to its excellent ozone resistance and high tensile strength, Neoprene is both versatile and robust. Here are a few examples of more uses:

  • Gaskets for all industries
  • Conveyor belts
  • Vibration mounts
  • Cable jackets
  • Laptop sleeves
  • Medical braces

Learn about Alanto’s Neoprene/EPDM blended material today by clicking here.