Polychloroprene was originally known as duprene, and it was the first mass-produced synthetic rubber in existence. Since its invention in the 1930s, Neoprene remains in wide use throughout industry and commerce.
Neoprene has become valued for its ability to maintain flexibility even when exposed to a wide range of temperatures, and its exceptional durability, weather resistance and chemical inertness distinguish it from other synthetic rubber varieties.
Neoprene rubber molding is used in the electronics industry to create protective gear for sensitive or fragile electronic devices. This type of rubber molding is also an excellent option for more demanding applications in the automotive industry; gaskets, hoses, and timing belts are often made using Neoprene.
Industrial manufacturing equipment like conveyor belts, mounting pads and other vibration control products can be made using the neoprene rubber molding process, and Neoprene sports and recreation equipment like saddle pads, cinches, ankle guards, wetsuits and fly fishing waders perform well even in extreme weather conditions.
Neoprene also boasts ozone and UV ray resistance, high flame resistance and excellent buoyancy. Neoprene is created in dry, liquid and foam grades to accommodate the extensive variety of applications for which it is used.
Neoprene is formed by polymerizing chloroprene, which is the joining of individual chloroprene molecules into a long chain. Once a stock of raw Neoprene has been produced, the stock can be processed into usable products.
As is true for most other synthetic and natural rubber products, Neoprene molding can be processed by any one of many rubber processing methods. In the extrusion process, a collection of raw neoprene is fed into a conveyance channel where it is heated to a molten state.
The molten Neoprene is then forced through a die, which is a tool that is specially designed to give shape to raw materials. When the Neoprene emerges on the other side of the die, it cools and hardens and is ready to be shipped.
Neoprene can also be injection molded; injection molding allows for the fabrication of more complicated shapes than extrusion. Instead of a die, injection molding makes use of a mold cavity, which is a hollow space into which molten Neoprene is injected.
The Neoprene forms to the contours of the cavity, after which it is ejected, cools, hardens and is ready for shipment or additional processing. Other methods like compression molding and cell casting are also possibilities.