Neoprene is a material used in many products. Its resistance to water and insulating abilities make it ideal for lunchboxes, coolers, life jackets, wetsuits, and more. The key ingredient in neoprene is carbon. Carbon is traditionally extracted from petroleum. This is a hazardous and ecologically dangerous source. In recent years a new, safer source of carbon has been developed. Limestone can now be used as a source for the carbon used to make a more eco-friendly neoprene.
Processing limestone for its carbon produces a product that is better in many ways to that made from petroleum. The cellular structure of petroleum neoprene is filled with microcells with varying wall thickness in nearly random patterns. Limestone neoprene has uniform microcells in a consistent pattern. This allows the newer material to withstand stretching and flexing over a much longer period of time. It also significantly increases the materials ability to withstand water and increase its insulating abilities.
The increased insulation and water resistant properties allow for less of the neoprene to be used in making something like wetsuits. Thinner layers can be combined with other materials to make a suit that exceeds the capabilities of a traditional suit. These factors allow the more eco-friendly neoprene to last longer than its traditional counterpart. This extended life has the additional benefit of products made form this material getting more use before taking up space in a landfill.
Limestone is more abundant than the dwindling pockets of petroleum. Limestone deposits can be more easily found than petroleum. They form in predictable areas and don’t require deep holes drilled into the earth in order to locate deposits. Limestone can also be handled and transported with a much lower risk factor than petroleum. An ecological disaster does not occur if there is an accident involving a vehicle full of limestone.
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