The History of Neoprene
Neoprene is a special kind of synthetic rubber that is manufactured through the processing of the material chloroprene. This rubber is a highly flexible and stable material, even when applied in a thin layer and bent repeatedly. For this reason, neoprene is often used as a rubber material for coatings and even clothing, such as wet suits and medical braces. The rubber is also used for fan belts, electrical insulation, liquid and sheet flashings, and many other applications.
This rubber is a fairly recent discovery, and it was not invented until the 1930s. The company DuPont purchased the patent for divinyl acetylene, which transforms into a firm elastic material after it is passed over sulfur dichloride. DuPont changed the materials in the process, reacting monovinyl acetylene with hydrogen chloride gas, which creates the compound chloroprene. The original name for this rubber was called DuPrene, but the material was not yet refined enough for commercial use. The product had a foul odor that turned many people off of the product. After a few tweaks, the company was able to remove the smell from the material and create an official manufacturing process for the rubber, which was then labeled Neoprene in 1937. The new name was also given to the material to signify that it was a material, not a finished product. By 1939, the material was quite popular, and the company was able to make over $300,000 from the sale of the material.
Since then, the rubber has gained in popularity and is used in many different industries all over the world. Without this flexible, synthetic rubber, many of the synthesized rubber products in use today would not exist. In the industrial world, the material is invaluable for creating gaskets, hoses, seals, and other important pieces in many manufacturing processes.