Guide to the Uses and Applications of Polyisoprene in Industrial Settings
What is Polyisoprene?
Polyisoprene is a synthetic polymer produced from petroleum-derived raw material. You might think of it as a synthetic version of natural rubber latex since it offers many of the same desirable properties but without the risk associated with latex allergies and sensitivities.
Commercial use of polyisoprene dates back to the early 1960s when it was primarily used in tire compounds. The tire industry continues to account for a significant percentage of commercial polyisoprene use to this day. Thanks to its strength, elasticity, and other valuable properties, polyisoprene has been adopted by a variety of other industries.
Polyisoprene Physical & Chemical Properties
The chemical formula for cis-1,4-polyisoprene is [CH2CH=C(CH3)CH2]n. Polyisoprene is a resilient polymer with high tensile strength and good elasticity. These versatile elastomers are resistant to physical degradation, including tear, abrasion, flex fatigue, and inorganic chemicals. Polyisoprene also offers good low-temperature properties compared to natural rubber.
Because polyisoprene has a homogeneous polymer structure, it’s a popular choice for manufacturing, when good processability and consistency are needed.
Synthetic polyisoprene contains no allergenic latex proteins but offers the same excellent performance properties as natural rubber latex. As latex allergies continue to drive consumer demand for safe alternative compounds, synthetic polyisoprene is a top choice for many applications.
Synthetic polyisoprene touts excellent performance properties even when exposed to harsh conditions. This resistance makes synthetic polyisoprene an ideal choice for applications that require resistance to abrasion, inorganic chemicals, weather, and low-temperature environments.
High Tensile Strength
High tensile strength is vital for the performance and longevity of products that must endure stretching or tension while in service. Synthetic polyisoprene has excellent tensile strength, making it a reliable, long-lasting option for many high-performance applications.
Homogeneous Polymer Structure
The structure of synthetic polyisoprene provides excellent purity, processability, and consistency. These properties help to simplify manufacturing and quality control, making synthetic polyisoprene an efficient choice for manufacturing. Synthetic polyisoprene is especially well-suited to dip molding. Additionally, the manufacturing efficiency of polyisoprene can make it a more cost-effective option than other materials.
Industrial Uses & Applications
The use of polyisoprene has spread far beyond its roots in the tire industry. It does not contain any latex proteins and is safe for individuals with latex allergies and sensitivities. As a result, polyisoprene is a common choice for products that come in contact with people in daily life.
Medical & Laboratory
Polyisoprene is not water-soluble and is resistant to many inorganic chemicals, making it an excellent choice for medical, surgical, and laboratory applications. Polyisoprene is also highly resistant to abrasion, tear, and flex fatigue, so it can withstand a rigorous service environment. Specific applications include medical devices and parts, medical fluid transport tubing, surgical tubing, and more.
Polyisoprene is also commonly used to make sports equipment. Thanks to its excellent tensile strength and elasticity, polyisoprene is durable enough to withstand some rough handling. Polyisoprene also holds up well against weather and the elements, so the longevity of polyisoprene products is not compromised by outdoor use. Sports and leisure products made with polyisoprene include practice goals for soccer and other team sports, slingshots, and resistance bands used for strength training and physical therapy.
The strength and durability of polyisoprene translate well to engineering applications as well. Polyisoprene can be used to make bushings, anti-vibration mounts, o-rings, gaskets, seals, and other rubber components that might endure a lot of stress in service. Polyisoprene also performs well in manufacturing thanks to its processability and consistent properties, another benefit to engineering applications.
KEP’s Polyisoprene for Industrial Applications
Kent Elastomer Products (KEP) is a trusted provider of high-quality, American-made synthetic polyisoprene dip-molded products. Our synthetic polyisoprene compound complies with United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Class VI Testing standards, making it a safe and reliable choice for medical and healthcare applications. Our synthetic polyisoprene compound also complies with the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) standards for food-grade materials.
KEP is also a leader in lean manufacturing. We’re dedicated to continuous improvement on every project, so we’re always tweaking our processes and finding a better way to produce your polyisoprene products. For you, this means faster turnaround times and higher-quality products, made to meet your exact specifications.
With over sixty years of experience, we can help you choose the right material or elastomer compound for your product. We’ll work with you to understand which properties are most important for your product given its purpose and service environment. You can trust us to advise you based on your best interests and guide you in the right direction.
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