What’s the difference between nitrile vs. 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 to use nitrile vs. neoprene. 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.

The following tables compare nitrile vs. neoprene in detail.

   

General Information

Nitrile Rubber

Neoprene Rubber

Common Names

Nitrile, Buna-N, NBR

Neoprene

Chemical Names

Acrylonitrile-butadiene

polychloroprene

ASTM D-2000 Classification

BF, BG, BK, CH

BC, BE

   

Physical Properties

Nitrile Rubber

Neoprene Rubber

Elongation

400% to 600%

100% to 800%

Hardness (Shore A)

35 to 90

15 to 95

 

 

 

Mechanical Properties

Nitrile Rubber

Neoprene Rubber

Compression Set

Good

Good

Rebound Rating

Good

Fair to Very Good

Flex Cracking Resistance

Good

Good to Very Good

Abrasion Resistance

Good to Excellent

Very Good to Excellent

Tear Resistance

Good

Good

Impact Resistance

Fair to Good

Good to Excellent

Flame Resistance

Poor

Very Good to Excellent

   

Thermal Properties

Nitrile Rubber

Neoprene Rubber

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

   

Environmental Resistance

Nitrile Rubber

Neoprene Rubber

Weather

Poor

Good

Sunlight

Poor

Good to Very Good

Ozone

Poor

Good

Oxidation

Good

Good

Water

Good to Excellent

Excellent

Steam

Fair

Poor to Good

Gas Permeability

Fair to Good

Fair to Good

 

 

 

Chemical Resistance

Nitrile Rubber

Neoprene Rubber

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 comparing nitrile vs. neoprene 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.

Nitrile vs. Neoprene
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