Neoprene fiber—or neoprene sponge fiber—is considered a top-tier non-metallic material option for numerous manufacturers. In fact, neoprene fiber has maintained popularity as a synthetic gasket choice since its creation by DuPont in the 1930s for being a durable, flexible, and versatile product across a wide range of industries.
How It’s Made: Neoprene Fiber
Neoprene fiber is a type of material sheet made from close-cell neoprene sponge rubber. This type of neoprene sponge has separated pockets of gas in the material, giving it a sturdy, foam-like structure.
To create this fiber, manufacturers deliver neoprene sponge in liquid form to a textile factory, where it is mixed with chemical additives to increase its material properties. Afterwards, the material is baked, cooled, and then cut into slices and sewn to make the sheets. Before distribution, any chemicals that make the fiber water-proof or flame-retardant are sprayed on the sheets.
Properties of Neoprene Fiber
Neoprene fiber boasts many properties that support industrial machine maintenance, including:
- Water and Air Resistance: Neoprene fiber gaskets have great sealing capabilities, which help make watertight and air-proof seals on machines.
- Weather Resistance: Neoprene fiber resists environmental deterioration caused by UV rays, ozone, and extreme temperatures for outdoor applications.
- Flame & Heat Retardant: Since the fiber is made from closed-cell neoprene sponge, the material can insulate or withstand temperatures from -50°F to 275°F (-45°C to 135°C). The gas pockets also allow the material to retain heat and achieve UL 94HF-1 flame ratings.
- Flexibility and Insulation: Like rubber, this material is flexible enough to adapt to any size or shape of gasket, blocking dust, moisture, or debris from entering the system.
- Soundproofing: Neoprene fiber’s cellular structure has great shock absorption, enabling it to take hard impacts, compress, and cushion sounds and vibrations from equipment.
- Chemical Resistance: As a petroleum-based product, neoprene fiber doesn’t break down when exposed to oils, chemicals, or other solvents, making it especially popular in specialized industries.
Neoprene Industry Applications
Neoprene fiber can be applied to a number of unique industries, such as:
- Construction: Construction manufacturers rely on neoprene fiber for its durability and weather resistance to repair cranes or fuel tank seals for heavy-duty projects. They also use this material to make strong window seals on certain equipment.
- Automotive: Frequently, automotive manufacturers use neoprene seals to repair fuel tanks, transmission belts, and engine components. Its shock endurance and oil resistance also make the material a perfect choice for shock absorbers or fluid seals to keep the vehicle running smoothly.
- Electrical: Neoprene fiber is a popular choice within the electrical industry. Using this fiber for electrical insulation, technicians can protect wires and cables from damage.
- HVAC: Air conditioning units require sturdy seals to keep refrigerant chemicals from leaking out. Using neoprene fiber, HVAC experts can seal pipes and tubes to prevent liquid or water damage.
Neoprene Fiber: Advantages & Disadvantages
The many properties and applications of neoprene fiber gaskets offer an equal array of advantages to manufacturers, including but not limited to:
- Durability: Flexible and durable, this synthetic fiber can withstand heavy vibrations or machine activity better than other polymer gaskets.
- Lightweight: Made from a porous foam-like rubber, neoprene fiber is lightweight, creating less strain on equipment.
- Longevity: This material resists many different chemicals and elements, which enables the gaskets to last longer and can save on replacement costs.
Though neoprene fiber gaskets offer many benefits, the material also has a few limitations. Neoprene fiber is more expensive than other elastomers. Additionally, it’s also quite weak against oxidizing acids, making it unsuitable to manufacturers handling acidic fuels or materials.
Is Neoprene Fiber Right for You?
Whatever custom gasket or seal your production line needs, count on Breiner Innovative to deliver the best results right on time. If neoprene fiber fits the bill, our team will provide the parts on time. Learn more about Breiner by contacting us today.
Interested in exploring more materials? Check out our blog on Foam Rubber vs Sponge Rubber!