Neoprene is a synthetic rubber product developed in the 1930s which has a wide range of uses, thanks to its durability, UV resistance, and flexibility. Manufacturers are constantly developing new uses for neoprene, along with new formulations of this product which are designed to deliver reliable performance. Commercial products come in a range of weights and styles to meet various needs. Many people interact with neoprene and objects with neoprene components on a regular basis.
One of the most common formats for this synthetic rubber is foam sheets which can be configured to perform a variety of functions. Wetsuits, drysuits, waders, and other equipment for working in the water are commonly made from neoprene, as are sleeves for the insulation of beverage containers, along with shoes and gloves. Neoprene sheeting can also be cut down for use in shoes for added padding, and for mousepads and other types of padding.
Athletic supports and braces can be made from neoprene, as can bandages and other medical equipment. The tough material will resist stretching out of shape, along with water, and it is durable enough to be worn during vigorous activity or for prolonged periods of time.
Foam products also makes an excellent insulator in electrical circuits, and it may be used for weather stripping and as a gasket in applications such as cars. Heat and chemical resistance make this material a good choice for applications such as these. Manufacturers of flexible hoses and pipes designed for use with chemicals may also utilize neoprene.
Sleeves designed to protect electronics without being bulky can be made from neoprene. Laptops in particular can benefit from being stored in a case which protects the device from the elements and rough handling without taking up a great deal of space, keeping the laptop as portable as possible for the owner. The material is also used to insulate hard metal cases to provide a smooth, tight fit which will keep objects in place and minimize damages which can be caused by impact and jostling.
People who come up with a creative use for this material can buy sheeting from sewing supply stores and manufacturers. Special tools may be needed to sew the material, especially if a watertight seal is desired, and it is common to use a sealer along the edges of neoprene foam and on joints, so that the material will be less prone to leaking, breaking, or pulling apart.