What’s the difference between nitrile and neoprene for seals, gaskets, and insulation? Both elastomers provide good resistance to compression set and tearing. They withstand the same range of service temperatures, too. Some grades of neoprene offer excellent resistance to abrasion, but nitrile is known for its abrasion resistance at elevated temperatures.
Nitrile and neoprene rubber have many similarities, but there are some important differences between these elastomers. In this article from Elasto Proxy, you’ll learn when nitrile is recommended and when neoprene is used. You’ll also compare these common compounds across all a full list of material properties so that you can make the right choice for your application.
Nitrile vs. Neoprene: Material Properties
Nitrile offers excellent oil and solvent resistance across a wide temperature range. This synthetic elastomer has very good resistance to engine oil and gasoline, very good resistance to alkalis and acids, and superior resistance to petroleum-based hydraulic fluids. Neoprene offers moderate resistance to oils and petroleum products, but provides significantly greater resistance to sunlight, ozone, and weather.
The differences don’t end there. Nitrile rubber has poor flame resistance. By contrast, neoprene provides very good-to-excellent resistance against the spread of flame. Nitrile is attacked by sunlight, ozone, and weather, but neoprene provides reliable resistance against these environmental conditions. Yet neither rubber resists aromatics or ketones, two types of organic compounds.
As the following table shows, nitrile and neoprene are both similar and different in terms of properties.
|Common Names||Nitrile, Buna-N, NBR||Neoprene|
|ASTM D-2000 Classification||BF, BG, BK, CH||BC, BE|
|Elongation||400% to 600%||100% to 800%|
|Hardness (Shore A)||35 to 90||15 to 95|
|Rebound Rating||Good||Fair to Very Good|
|Flex Cracking Resistance||Good||Good to Very Good|
|Abrasion Resistance||Good to Excellent||Very Good to Excellent|
|Impact Resistance||Fair to Good||Good to Excellent|
|Flame Resistance||Poor||Very Good to Excellent|
|Minimum Service Temperature||-30° F to -70° F||-30° F to -70° F|
|Maximum Service Temperature||+220° F to +280°F||+220° F to +280° F|
|Sunlight||Poor||Good to Very Good|
|Water||Good to Excellent||Excellent|
|Steam||Fair||Poor to Good|
|Gas Permeability||Fair to Good||Fair to Good|
|Generally Resistant To||Gases, Aliphatic Hydrocarbon, Oils and Fuels||Moderate chemicals and acids, ozone, oils, fats, greases, and solvents|
|Generally Attacked By||Ketones, Ozone, Sunlight, Aromatic Oil, Flame, Weather||Esters, ketones, and chlorinated, aromatic, and nitro hydrocarbons|
Nitrile vs. Neoprene: Applications
Nitrile rubber is recommended for applications that require oil and fuel resistance, abrasion resistance, and temperature resistance up to 280° F. In mobile equipment and military vehicles, nitrile seals or gaskets are used in carburetor diaphragms, fuel systems, and hydraulic hoses. Nitrile also supports rubber-to-metal bonding, which makes it a good choice for applications in the processing industry. Yet nitrile isn’t recommended for sealing and insulation that requires resistance to fire, sunlight, ozone, or weather.
Neoprene rubber resists fire and withstands sunlight, ozone, and weather. Specific grades of neoprene can also meet flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) requirements for the mass transit industry. Applications include door seals, window seals, hose covers, vibration mounts, and shock absorbers. Neoprene is also used with HVAC units, electrical or electronic enclosures, and weather stripping for fire doors. Additional applications include expansion joints and bearing pads in built structures.
Nitrile vs. Neoprene: Make the Right Choice
Compound selection is critical because choosing the wrong rubber can cause more than just a component-level failure. Are you wondering whether nitrile or neoprene is the right elastomer for your application? Do you need custom-fabricated sealing solutions that add value and reduce risk? Then it’s time to talk to Elasto Proxy. Contact us to discuss your application.