Neoprene is used in a variety of applications, from clothing to household items and building fasteners. The most common type of hardware made with this highly durable and beneficial material is the neoprene washer. But not all neoprene washers are equal and there are other options available for use with liquids and corrosive substances.
This material is used for affordable washers used in very basic applications. Mainly beneficial as a cushion or padding, generic rubber washers will not provide an adequate seal and are not resistant to decay.
A rubber washer will help to provide a tight fit without damaging sensitive materials underneath. It will not stand up to extreme temperatures and exposure to chemicals. SBR (also known as red rubber) is often used for plumbing applications.
A neoprene washer provides a moderate level of resistance to petroleum-based products and some chemicals. It also flame retardant and able to withstand exposure to outdoor temperatures in nearly any climate.
Because it is durable against oils and fats, neoprene can be used in applications across the automotive industry, as well as in industrial settings and commercial kitchens.
Higher Grade Neoprene
Similar in appearance to basic neoprene, this type of material has been enhanced with greater strength and elasticity. In can be used in the same types of applications, but also delivers better durability and more flexibility. That allows a high-grade neoprene washer to be used in more extreme conditions with the same level of protection.
Chlorine and oxidized acids, as well as ketones and ester will attack both basic and high-grade neoprene items. Almost any type of rubber is vulnerable to these substances, although silicone has a resistance to oxidized chemicals at moderate to low levels.
The best type of neoprene for your application will depend on the conditions and exposure. You will need something more than generic rubber if the neoprene washer must hold up against certain grease and fats. But when oxidized chemicals or liquids are in the mix, upgrading to a high-grade silicone washer may be a better idea. Be sure your fasteners are made with materials that will hold up over time and deliver the performance you are looking for.
Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.