Neoprene rubber can be found in myriad products that many people use every day. Such items usually already are put together into usable form by the time consumers see them, but most manufacturers usually see this type of synthetic rubber in a neoprene sheet. Its resistance to the effects of water and most weather makes neoprene rubber a favorite among those who need durable products that typically do well outdoors.
A neoprene sheet is made up of synthetic rubber that is produced when chloroprene is polymerized. Most manufacturers purchase neoprene rubber in sheets, but it also can be purchased in rolls or short increments. Many suppliers that offer a neoprene sheet feature several variations of the rubber, such as different thicknesses, colors, and patterns. Most sheets have a nylon backing, but some have Velcro® or textured backing when requested.
Neoprene rubber has several advantages. It often is used to waterproof materials that otherwise are not very resistant to moisture. In such cases, neoprene can be added to the exterior. It also is known for being quite durable and flexible. Its form-fitting property usually makes it a good material for clothing that needs to be tight and also resistant to outdoor conditions, such as extreme weather.
There are a variety of uses for neoprene. Most of them are meant for the outdoors, such as wetsuits, sportswear, gloves, or wading boots. This is because neoprene is one of the most water-resistant materials. Additionally, it is known for having the ability to repair itself, as when it is punctured, the surrounding material swells up enough to keep water out. For this reason, a neoprene sheet is most often used to make wetsuits.
Many people do not know that neoprene rubber also is great for some indoor products that require durability and flexibility. It can be used to protect electronics; for example, a neoprene sheet often is made into a cell phone cover or laptop sleeve. It also can protect electrical insulation quite well. Other uses include orthopedic braces, baby bibs, mouse pads, shoe soles, paint, car fan belts, and even some rocket fuels.
One of the advantages of a neoprene sheet is that it is easily washable. It can be wiped by hand with soap and water, or it can be placed in the washing machine. To make sure neoprene products stay clean and last as long as possible, they usually should be covered with a pillowcase and put in the washer. The delicate cycle should be used, along with cold water and somewhat gentle detergent. A neoprene sheet typically should not be placed in the dryer, but hung up to dry instead.