Neoprene: Stretching the Limits Beyond Rubber

In 1930, a team of DuPont scientists polymerized chloroprene, clearing the path for neoprene to become the go-to rubber substitute.

Neoprene: Stretching the Limits Beyond Rubber - Alpha Moment

Challenge

Solving the High Demand For Rubber
During the 1920s, the increasing demand for rubber led to a surge in prices, encouraging chemical companies to search for a rubber-substitute. The race was on!

Solution

Inventing a Synthetic Rubber That is More Versatile Than Rubber
After purchasing the patent for the production of divinyl acetylene from the University of Notre Dame, on April 17, 1930, DuPont scientists developed a rubber-like substance following the polymerization of chloroprene.


The material, generically known as neoprene, was more resistant to water, oils, heats and solvents than natural rubber.

Impact

Neoprene is a Splash Hit
Neoprene’s properties, including enhanced insulation, were highly desirable, at a much lower cost than rubber, and the material found its way into many other end-products including automobiles (tubes and hoses), telephone wire insulation and sports equipment, most notably wetsuits beginning in the 1950s.

 


Enter your email address to get the latest stories of chemical R&D and manufacturing innovation success or email us if you'd like us to feature your story.


 

Discover Elsevier's R&D Solutions for Chemicals

We provide research data and analytics technologies, helping chemical companies launch commercially successful new compounds and improve existing ones, while efficiently managing costs, chemical safety and regulation.

Learn more