What’s the difference between Ariaprene and neoprene?
When selecting a material for a product, many factors come into play. Oftentimes, when the use case requires a material that is durable, flexible, soft, and compressive neoprene is often one of the first choices considered. As manufacturing capabilities have expanded the aesthetic choices available for neoprene fabrics, perforated neoprene is being increasingly used in various softgood applications.
Neoprene widely refers to a family of synthetic rubbers, created when chloroprene is polymerized. Neoprene is more resistant to degradation than most natural and synthetic rubbers, making it well suited for industrial applications.
- Industrial: landfill linings, gasket seals, bearing pads, agricultural hydroponics, elevator astragals
- Home: weather stripping, hoses, laptop sleeves, mouse pads, remote controls, CPU socket insulation
- Automotive: window seals, seat covers, shock absorption seals, belts, vibration mounts
- Music: soundproofing, speaker cones, hammer tips, drum pads
- Outdoor: wetsuits, fly fishing waders, life jackets, hiking socks, cycling chamois, weight vests, koozies
- Soft goods: footwear, padding, performance backpacks, scuba inspired clothing, harnesses
Neoprene fabric is so widely used that it’s difficult to find a material that can be just, if not more versatile. However, the very characteristic that sets neoprene apart – its resistance to degradation, makes it one of the most problematic materials to incorporate outside of heavy duty industrial and manufacturing uses. For most footwear and softgood uses, such as a perforated neoprene fabric panel on a backpack, having a product made from the same material used to line landfills isn’t the most eco-friendly option. Every year, over 380 tonnes of non biodegradable neoprene make their way into our waste cycles.
Because of the chemical manufacturing process that involves the free-radical polymerization of chloroprene, the gasses from production are considered toxic. When neoprene is heated it can release dangerous hydrogen chloride. Neoprene is also directly linked with allergic reactions, and others can develop dermatitis from the chemical compounds used in production, specifically dialkyl thioureas, which was named “Allergen of the Year” by Dermatology Times in 2009. The most common accelerator in the vulcanization of polychloroprene is ethylene thiourea, which was classified as reprotoxic, a designation for substances that interfere with reproductive health and functions.
Oftentimes, designers look toward other materials such as SBR, PU foam, or EVA to look for a perforated neoprene fabric alternative, but those materials simply don’t offer the design choices, manufacturing benefits, and performance they are looking for. Neoprene is usually only widely available in darker colors unless painted, and limited in choice of thickness and customization.
Ariaprene® was designed as a solution for innovators, designers, and technologists looking for a neoprene alternative. Unlike neoprene, Ariaprene’s foam core is constructed with physical blending, greatly reducing the environmental impact during manufacturing. It’s a perforated, closed cell foam that can be laminated to a sheer or opaque finish. It’s eco-friendly, free of toxins, and unlike conventional neoprene, it won’t leave hazardous traces behind after degradation.
Rock climbing brand Five Ten (a subsidiary of Adidas) created a new Wall Master shoe, made with a perforated neoprene-like fabric tongue. Aside from the striking red color, Ariaprene® offered the designers at Five Ten a non-toxic, hypoallergenic material for a shoe that takes a beating. Climbers don’t wear socks, and will take their shoes in some of the most extreme environments. Ariaprene offered a cleaner, more eco-friendly product, as well as a direct manufacturing process, that allowed for a quicker lead time and a more consistent end product.
Here are just a few advantages of choosing Ariaprene for your perforated neoprene uses:
- Ecological: degradable, non-toxic, cleaner manufacturing process
- Design: fully customizable, wide variety of colors available, compound material, moldable
- Performance: flexible, lightweight, insulating, shock absorbing, breathable, supportive
. . .
Ready to step up your game? Contact us and see how you can use Ariaprene® for your perforated neoprene fabric needs.