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What is Santoprene®?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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As one of the best examples of thermoplastic rubber on the market today, Santoprene® is used in a number of applications. It is a thermoplastic compound that is processed in much the same way as any type of plastic. The difference is that Santoprene® possesses the same levels of flexibility and durability that are commonly found with natural rubber compounds. Because of its longer life in both extreme hot and cold environments, the material is often preferred over the use of rubber.

Santoprene® can be processed in a variety of ways. The abrasive resistant material can be blow molded, teleformed, or injection molded with great ease. Along with the fact that the material is so easy and cost efficient to produce, it also can be recycled. After products made with it have seen better days, the same material can be reprocessed and molded into new products. The impact of this easily recycled plastic on our environment is thus not only positive, but may also help eliminate even more unwanted items ending up in landfills.

Around the house, Santoprene® products are often found helping to insulate appliances and other area. Pump gaskets, hose connectors, weather stripping for windows and doors and closure seals on ovens and refrigerators are often made from this plastic. The same is true for a number of the sporting goods that our children play with each day. Grips on baseball bats and insulated handle bar covers for bicycles made with Santoprene® are common today. For more adult sport pastimes, it is often used for skin diving equipment, wet suits, ski pole handles, and the grips on tennis racquets.

When it comes to industrial applications, Santoprene® is often found on all sorts of tool grips, as well as caster wheels, textile industrial rollers on carding and spinning equipment, gaskets for machinery. Around the office, it may show up as the cushion on the bottom of computer monitors, vibration isolators that slide under speaker phones, and printer rollers.

The automotive industry accounts for the use of a great deal of products made from this plastic. Among them are various types of boots, the lining in air ducts, covers for cables under the hood, windshield spacers, and air bag doors. The typical vehicle today will be outfitted with plenty of Santoprene® items that will probably last as long as the fiberglass and metal shell of the car.

As an easily recyclable product, Santoprene® has the reputation of being strong as well as a great way to make better use of available resources. With so many uses already in place, it is only a matter of time before more applications are developed.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including About Mechanics, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon349804 — On Sep 29, 2013

Similar to the question in Post no. 16: I am trying to bond a 70 durometer Santoprene gasket to anodized aluminum or to Kynar (fluorocarbon) painted aluminum.

Ideally, the adhesive will set up in a matter of an hour or less sufficiently to be to at least 50 percent strength in that hour.

I note that Akron Coatings and Adhesives claims to have developed an adhesive that will perform this task. Has anyone had experience with Akron Coatings and Adhesives Co.?

By anon142902 — On Jan 14, 2011

Is Santoprene an EPDM? Is it the same plastic?

By anon137152 — On Dec 26, 2010

Would a pigment prevent ABS from bonding to a Santoprene that is pre-colored? This is a grade of Santoprene that is designed to bond to ABS.

By anon128312 — On Nov 19, 2010

i am sourcing an adhesive glue to bone my Santoprene gasket together. Anyone can tell me must used what type of glue/cement?

By anon89969 — On Jun 13, 2010

1) Santoprene is polypropylene cross linked with EPDM rubber. Not to be used as a modifier. If you want to modify another polymer, use Exxon Mobil Exxelor or other impact modifier.

2) Santoprene does *not* have PVC in it, or a flame retardant, unless you're looking at one of the specialty grades.

3)You can paint it, but depending on the durometer, it will likely fall off under flexing. Why not just mold in the color you want?

4) Santoprene bonds to ABS, PC, Polypro, and especially, nylon! They even have grades that will bond to metal!

5)Yes, but available only through distribution. They won't sell it direct. And, it's a mixture of different grades, so it really is generic. TPO is made the same way as TPV (santoprene) only isn't cross-linked to the same extent. If you don't need the compression set of Santoprene, look at a TPO. (Everybody makes one of those), or look at some of the styrene based elastomers (poor chemical resistance though)!

8) No. Not unless you use one of the FDA grades, and even then, not really.

9)Neoprene is cheaper, but it's a thermoset product. Santoprene is a thermoplastic, much less expensive to process, easier to recycle, and runs faster cycles.

13) Finally, very difficult to bond using adhesive, due to the polypropylene and EPDM as well. However, they do have grades that bond to other plastics. Usually, that's a two-shot process. Also, elastomers are notoriously difficult to sonic weld or vibratory weld, because, well, they're elastomers.

By anon76867 — On Apr 12, 2010

I found Santoprene very hard and difficult to bond with any adhesive.

For instance Aquaseal bonds very strong to Neoprene but does not bond to Santoprene.

By anon59825 — On Jan 10, 2010

i would like to learn the difference between neoprene and santoprene.

By anon19388 — On Oct 11, 2008

Posted by: anon19274

what are the differences between santoprene and neoprene?


Posted by: anon19273

what are pros and cons between neoprene and santoprene?


These are great questions that would make excellent wiseGEEK articles. Please consider submitting them by using the drag down menu under "wiseGEEK Features" and selecting "Suggest a Topic"

By anon19274 — On Oct 09, 2008

what are the differences between santoprene and neoprene?

By anon19273 — On Oct 09, 2008

what are pros and cons between neoprene and santoprene?

By anon18940 — On Oct 02, 2008

Is santoprene resistant to blood born pathogens?

By anon17832 — On Sep 08, 2008

Is Santoprene safe for an infant teether? Does it have ingredients that are dubious as we have now discovered about plastics? Thank you!

By anon14408 — On Jun 16, 2008

Is there a generic version of Santoprene?

By mdt — On Mar 16, 2008

I've heard of santoprene components being used in conjuntion with components made with other polymer grades such as SBR, but am not aware of a manufacturer that mixes the polymers.

There is some data online that indicates the presence of brominated flame retardants contained in products made with santoprene.

As for painting, I suppose it is possible. Not sure how feasible it would be on products such as bicycle grips or kitchen cutting boards, though.

By anon9753 — On Mar 12, 2008

I'm assuming since santoprene is a polymer and a plastic it can be painted with krylon fusion or a similar type polymer adhesive paint.

Is this correct?

By anon7500 — On Jan 28, 2008

We are considering Santoprene for a low halogen product. Does Santoprene contain Brominated Flame Retardants or PVC?

By anon6630 — On Jan 04, 2008

How is santoprene compounded? Can Santoprene be introduced or mixed in an internal mixer or banbury type mixer? Can santoprene be used as an additive or mixed together with other polymer grades, such as, SBR and raw materials like carbon black, oils, etc..

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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