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Neoprene is the oldest synthetic rubber, invented back in 1930 by DuPont scientists. It’s an important part of the wetsuits, HydroSkin, sprayskirts, gloves and water shoes we make. Traditionally, oil has been the raw material in the manufacturing process of the neoprene we use. But no longer; thanks to Terraprene.
The raw material in Terraprene is limestone rock. Yes, rock. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Limestone is very common, making up some 10% of the world’s sedimentary rock formations. The manufacturing process uses limestone’s primary component, calcium carbonate, CaCO3.
In addition to saving an increasingly sought-after, fought-over and limited natural resource, oil, the Terraprene-processed ‘neoprene’ has some other very desirable features and benefits:
- More cells, or tiny bubbles, are formed in the material. It’s these cells, filled with inert nitrogen gas, that create neoprene’s insulating property. More cells equal more insulation, more warmth. And the material is more buoyant, giving you more flotation.
- It keeps you warmer, because it has thicker cell walls that reduce the compression of the material as you move, sit on it, etc. The thicker walls also help prevent loss of the inert nitrogen gas.
- It’s lighter and stretches more than the oil-based material. The weight savings and increased stretch give you more wearing comfort and mobility.
Warmer, lighter, more stretch, more buoyancy, more comfort, and not oil-based.