What is Polyisoprene?
Polyisoprene is a synthetic polymer produced by polymerizing petroleum-derived raw material. You might think of polyisoprene as a synthetic version of natural rubber latex, since it offers many of the same desirable properties. The base polymer for both synthetic polyisoprene and natural rubber latex is cis-1,4-polyisoprene.
Scientists spent many years attempting in vain to create a synthetic version of natural rubber latex. In the 1950s, German chemist Karl Ziegler made a number of major breakthroughs in polymerization catalyst systems for other materials. His discoveries enabled the development of the first successful synthetic polyisoprene. This first version fell short when compared to the crystallization properties of natural rubber. However, in the 1960s, several companies figured out how to recreate those crystallization properties in a synthetic polyisoprene and went on to release successful commercial compounds.
Synthetic polyisoprene offers similar physical and chemical properties to natural rubber latex, without any latex allergens. Because of this, synthetic polyisoprene can be a fantastic alternative to natural rubber latex for certain applications, especially when latex allergies or sensitivities may be a concern.
Polyisoprene Rubber Uses
From surgical tubing to shoe soles, the daily and specialty applications for synthetic polyisoprene are virtually unlimited. The industry is always discovering new ways to use polyisoprene. Here are a few popular applications for synthetic polyisoprene:
Synthetic polyisoprene is an excellent choice for a variety of tubing applications, including medical and surgical tubing. Polyisoprene is resilient and highly resistant to abrasion. Plus, polyisoprene maintains its shape and flexibility even in extreme temperatures. Medical professionals can trust polyisoprene tubing to maintain performance even in the most intense healthcare environments. Polyisoprene tubing is used for drug delivery, fluid pathways, wound drainage, and more.
Polyisoprene medical components
Polyisoprene offers many excellent properties that make it an ideal fit for medical and healthcare applications. For starters, because synthetic polyisoprene is safe for individuals with latex allergies or sensitivities, it’s a fantastic choice for medical products and devices.
Polyisoprene and the food and beverage industry
Food-grade polyisoprene is an excellent option for food and beverage packaging, especially tubing. Synthetic polyisoprene is durable enough to withstand a fairly robust supply chain environment, including temperature fluctuations and other rigors, while protecting the integrity of the products contained inside.
Everyday uses for synthetic polyisoprene
Synthetic polyisoprene is used in a variety of everyday products familiar to the average consumer. This includes tires, rubber bands, and shoe soles. Many baby products contain polyisoprene as well, since the material is soft, safe, and non allergenic, while remaining tough enough to withstand the wear and tear of teething. Pacificiers, baby bottle nipples, and teething toys are often made with synthetic polyisoprene. Additionally, polyisoprene condoms are a safe, popular choice for people with latex allergies or sensitivities.
Contact Us to Learn More About Polyisoprene
KEP is proud to offer K-440, our proprietary synthetic polyisoprene compound. K-440 is fully compliant with the rigorous standards of United States Pharmacopeia (USP) XXI Biological Class IV and FDA food grade specifications. Additionally, K-440 is free of the latex proteins found in natural rubber latex, so it’s safe for people who are allergic or sensitive to latex.
KEP is committed to manufacturing synthetic polyisoprene compounds and products that meet the demands of the industry you serve. Talk to our experts about your needs and goals, and we’ll help you decide if polyisoprene or a different compound is the right material for your project.
KEP also offers prototype development services, assembly, and on-site packaging and labeling. You can count on us to streamline the manufacturing process and support you at every step.