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Information @ a Glance

General
  • Polychloroprene is usually sold under the trade name Neoprene. It's especially resistant to oil. It was the first synthetic elastomer, or rubber to be a hit commercially. It was invented by Arnold Collins, while working under the same fellow who invented nylon, Wallace Carothers. Polychloroprene is made from the monomer chloroprene.
  • Neoprene polychloroprene is an extremely versatile synthetic rubber with more than 75 years of proven performance in a broad industry spectrum. It was originally developed as an oil-resistant substitute for natural rubber. Neoprene is noted for a unique combination of properties, which has led to its use in thousands of applications in diverse environments.

Process

  • With the aid of radical initiators, chloroprene in the form of an aqueous emulsion is converted into homopolymers or, in the presence of comonomers into copolymers. The polymerization is stopped at the desired conversion by the addition of a short stopping agent. The latex is freeze-coagulated on large, refrigerated revolving drums, from which it is drawn as a thin sheet. After washing and drying, the sheet is formed into a rope and then chopped to form the familiar chips or granules.

Properties

  • Polychloroprene, is an extremely versatile synthetic elastomer that offers a unique combination of adhesive properties. Polychloroprene-based adhesives provide outstanding toughness, chemical resistance, weathering resistance, heat resistance, oil and chemical resistance, as well as very rapid bond strength development. In contact adhesive applications, they develop an “instant bond” which allows assembled components to be immediately processed without clamping or fixturing.

Applications

  • Polychloroprene rubber was the first synthetic elastomer to be commercialized successfully. Major uses are in automotive components, mechanical/industrial goods and adhesives. Smaller uses are in construction, coated fabrics, and wire and cable.
  • Various grades are produced in dry and latex forms. Dry grades are used in industrial and automotive goods, e.g. hoses and belts; latex grades are used in waterborne adhesives and dipped goods, e.g. gloves and constant velocity joint boots. It has high resilience and excellent resistance to ozone, flame and weathering, as well as high strength and good resistance to abrasion, oxidants, oil and aging. But it has only fair dielectric properties, and needs special compounding for low temperature service.

Market and Report

  • Western Europe holds 28% of world capacity, followed by the US (27%), then Japan (26%). Global demand has been declining because of its relatively high price and increasing substitution from competing elastomers, such as ethylene-propylene diene monomer (EPDM). West European prices for mainstream grades were Euro3.0-4.0/kg. Current levels are largely unchanged with Euro2.8-3.5/kg reported as an average depending on type, adhesive grades are slightly less. US prices were in the range $4.0-5.0/kg.
  • Consumption in western Europe and North America will remain in a slow decline due to ongoing product substitution. As under-the-hood temperatures increase, polychloroprene is being replaced by products with higher heat resistance. Tighter environmental regulations are also forcing demand away from solvent-based polychloroprene adhesive systems to waterborne systems.
  • Overall global consumption will rise in the next four years, mainly due to China where demand is forecast to climb by 7.8%/year to 58 000 tonne/year. But for Asia (in particular Japan) consumption is expected to slightly decrease or remain flat at best. Annual world production will grow from 279 000 tonne in 2000 to 307 000 tonne.

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