There are many applications that make use of a neoprene rubber gasket. Why is neoprene such a popular material? Neoprene is actually known as the “all-purpose” rubber, a title well deserved due to its all-around beneficial characteristics, including a tolerance for a wide range of temperatures, its physical properties, and low flammability. It is a durable product that is weather and abrasion resistant. Neoprene gasket properties ensure a longer work-life than many plastics and other rubbers, as well as a more reliable and stable gasket for more extreme applications. Not to mention the fact that this elastomer is readily available and very affordable! Unlike a hard gasket formed from plastics or metals, neoprene gaskets are more supple and soft, with more ability to compress and form a tight seal when needed. The rubber must then be a softer material than what it is sealing. Especially since the object requiring the sealing is what is applying the compression. For example when used as a flat rubber gasket, neoprene, protects the parts that it ends up sealing. Without the use of this rubber in gasket and seal applications, hard (mostly metallic) parts would collide, wear, and deteriorate over time. And these parts happen to be far more pricey than the affordable flexible gasket which protects them!
However, the most unique trait of neoprene rubber is its moderate resistance to weathering and particular chemicals, namely petroleum-based solvents. Take a look at just a few chemicals that are highlights of neoprene gasket properties and their chemical resistance:
Ammonia: This compound is commonly found in household cleaners and in fertilizer. On a more scientific level, ammonia is a key element to synthesized nitrogen compounds. A neoprene product should be able to withstand all forms of ammonia: liquid, salts and gas. For such a common chemical, this is especially important for gasket and seal products used in everyday appliances to withstand. Any material that becomes a brittle, hard gasket can crack or break when affected with a chemical, rendering the appliance useless until fixed. Neoprene, however, will remain flexible and soft so that it continues to work.
Chlorofluorocarbon: Popularly known as Freon, this compound is used as a refrigerant in refrigerators and air conditioners. Chlorofluorocarbon was invented to replace toxic gas refrigerants like sulfur dioxide and ammonia. Neoprene gaskets can be found maintaining a gas- and liquid-tight seal in refrigerator and automotive systems. (Coincidentally, Du Pont created and named both neoprene and chlorofluorocarbons!) Using neoprene gaskets will help ensure that your refrigerator and freezer stay shut to preserve the food inside. It is important to use a flexible gasket (even cellular sponge type materials) for this application to guarantee an air-tight seal, rather than use a hard gasket that cannot compress entirely. Neoprene is also able to withstand the cold temperatures from freezers and refrigerators.
Petroleum-based oils and solvents: You can find such substances everywhere. Petroleum-based oils can be found under the hood of a vehicle; they can be found in paint and ink; petroleum-based solvents are even used to dry-clean clothes! Neoprene stands out from other types of rubber particularly because it possesses a moderate resistance not only to oils and solvents but also to weathering. Many rubber materials are not very resistant to petroleum-based oils and solvents. For example recycled rubber deteriorates when in frequent contact with oils, but neoprene can withstand these oils. When combined with its affordable price point, now you see why neoprene gaskets are so commonly used!
Banana Oil (Amyl Acetate) - Isoamyl acetate, also known as isopentyl acetate, is an organic compound that is the ester formed from isoamyl alcohol and acetic acid. It is a colorless liquid that is only slightly soluble in water, but very soluble in most organic solvents.
Aqua Regia - is a highly corrosive mixture of acids, a fuming yellow or red solution
Benzene - Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil, and is one of the most basic petrochemicals. Its does not end there! In February 2006, an unnamed former chemist at the FDA publicly revealed that benzene may be created as part of a chemical reaction during production of soft drinks, particularly those having an orange flavor.
Lacquers - Any of various clear or colored synthetic coatings made by dissolving nitrocellulose or other cellulose derivatives together with plasticizers and pigments
Chloroform - Chloroform is an organic compound with formula CHCl3.
Coke Oven Gas - A gas produced during carbonization of coal to form coke.
Halowax oil - Halowaxes /is/ trademark for chlorinated hydrocarbons of varying chlorine content, including chlorinated naphthalenes, ranging from low viscosity oil to hard microcrystalline wax.
Bunker Oil - Bunker fuel is technically any type of fuel oil used aboard ships.
Bleach Solutions - Bleaches are used as household chemicals to whiten clothes and remove stains and as disinfectants
Fish Oil - oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation throughout the body, and have other health benefits.
You may find neoprene gaskets in many of the devices and systems that you encounter in everyday life. It is the neoprene gasket properties that allows for the use of this elastomer in gasket and seal applications.
The variety of chemical resistance possessed by this synthetic rubber is ideal for a whole host of applications. Its affordability is even more important since it is rarely out of budget reach. Whether used as a flat rubber gasket or a low durometer flexible gasket, neoprene is highly recommended. This material is incredibly effective for many applications and is one of the most reliable gasket materials in the industry.