As a foam and rubber manufacturers with such a long history, we’ve been privileged to see various new technologies and materials arrive on the scene. Perhaps one of the most exciting, aside from NASA’s memory foam, has been neoprene rubber.
Qualities of Neoprene
But what has made this modern fabric so exceptionally successful in everything from sports equipment and protective clothing to laptop cases and sealants?
Neoprene is durable, strong, flexible, resistant to natural elements like UV rays and highly customisable in chemical terms.
Developed in the 1930s, modern neoprene foam products can be tailored at both the chemical and design stages to produce bespoke materials and design applications, e.g. different weights, thickness, styles, colours and resistances.
Application in the Water
One of the most common ways to use neoprene is in aquatic settings. It’s water resistance and reliable durability makes it ideal for things like wetsuits, drysuits, gloves, waders, protective casing and footwear.
Wetsuits and associated products mark the most familiar of uses. A neoprene wetsuit is exceptionally good for temperature regulation in the water, especially when designed for a specific environment, e.g. 7mm suits for cold water dives and 1.5mm suits for warmer waters. Neoprene can be used for providing more comfort underwater on things like watch straps and linings where they come into contact with the skin.
Neoprene also makes an excellent material for seals and aquatic protection like camera cases and related accessories.
Sports and Medial Equipment
On dry land, neoprene is just as effective as a multi-application material. It is tough, retains it’s shape well, doesn’t degrade with wetness and can be worn/used for a long time. The likes of sports supports and medical aids are commonly made using neoprene to suit challenges like sweating and heavy use.
Engineering, Electricity and Neoprene
A less commonly-known use for neoprene is as an electrical insulator. It makes an excellent circuit board insulator and can be manufactured to custom specifications to suit any layout.
Resistance to heat and a broad range of chemicals means engineers can tick a lot of boxes with neoprene. It can be used for everything from flexible hoses in car engines to watertight seals on power tools.
Your laptop case is likely made of neoprene, as is your tablet or e-reader case, mobile phone case and plenty of other common items around the home and office. Neoprene fits snugly to provide scratch resistance, minimise the impact damage of dropping and generally provide a tough protective shield between your electrical items and the rest of the world.
The amazing dexterity of neoprene as a cheap, effective protective material have made it one of the most popular fabrics in the world for protection of electrical devices.
Something we’re very proud of is our product development department. Do you have a neoprene product idea that just needs a little help getting off the drawing board? We can help with everything from fabric make-up and initial design to packaging and distribution, so get in touch today.