Neoprene is an extremely flexible synthetic rubber. Initially, the goal of its development was to make a replacement for natural rubber, resistant to oils. And for more than 70 years, its unique properties and characteristics have been proven by experience in various fields and industries.. Among the best qualities of Neoprene is the invariability of its characteristics under long-term exposure to water, sun and oxygen. It exhibits outstanding strength and damage resistance due to its ductility and flexibility.
Neoprene is able to contact with many chemicals, including oil, resistant to temperatures. But compared to many other types of rubber, it is less flammable. Based on all these qualities, this material has a fairly wide range of applications. The main component of neoprene is a polymer of chloroprene — polychloroprene. But the composition may vary depending on what properties are needed for certain products. So, in different proportions, different polymers, or sulfur, can be added.
Neoprene is used in sporting goods. It looks like a foamed polymer, made in the form of a web with air-filled and closed cells. These cells make neoprene fabric an excellent thermal insulator. But these properties are also enhanced by applying a metallized coating based on various metals, including titanium, to the rubber surface. Then the canvas increases its insulating properties by about 30 percent, reflecting the heat of the human body inside.
Such a rubber sheet can also consist of two components: a polymer of a continuous structure and a foamed neoprene. On one or both surfaces of the rubber, a backing of fabric, usually knitted, such as cotton, polyester, nylon, is glued.
The high quality neoprene fabric is water and air resistant and absorbs no more than 2 percent of its own weight. At the same time, there are «breathing» modifications of the material with microscopic holes. Without disturbing the structure, the canvas can be stretched by 150 percent. Its thickness can vary from 0.5 to 6 mm. It can be used at temperatures from minus 50 to 100 degrees Celsius.
Based on these qualities, wetsuits are sewn from neoprene fabric, they are used to make waterproof hiking shoes, as well as partial seals in places where clothing is adjacent to the body: neck, wrists, lower leg. The material is widely used for the production of sports equipment: gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, backpacks, bags, thermal containers, covers and other things where a flexible, thermally insulating and waterproof material is required. Neoprene sheets can be found under many brand names. The most famous are: PROTEX, Modetec, SCS, Metallite, SeaTex.