Hypalon Rubber – What Is It?
Working in sales in the rubber industry we receive many requests for “Hypalon” rubber. Sometimes people pronounce it incorrectly and sometimes people assume it’s one thing when it’s something else. It can be confusing as Hypalon rubber isn’t necessarily just one thing so we’ll try to explain.
Don’t Believe the Hypalon – What Exactly is Hypalon Rubber?
Firstly, “Hypalon” is a brand name created by DuPont Performance Elastomers for Chlorosulphonated Polyethylene. It is a thermoset rubber developed around 1950. Their aim was to create a product that offered better properties than other rubbers available at the time. DuPont actually stopped manufacturing it around 2010. This means that whilst the name lives on, it isn’t actually possible to buy branded “Hypalon” anymore. From here the story becomes one like “Hoover” being synonymous with vacuum cleaner or “Tippex” for whitening fluid. Today, “Hypalon” has entered the vernacular. It is used to describe any manufacturers’ Chlorosulphonated Polyethylene – or CSM as its abbreviated in the UK and CSPE in the US.
DuPont exited the Chlorosulphonated Polyethylene (let’s just call it Hypalon rubber) market around 2010. However, there are other reputable manufacturers who continue to produce Hypalon rubber and goods made from it remain in regular use. Hypalon rubber as we know it needs to be compounded with other ingredients to make it processable and useful. Rubber companies will form the Hypalon into different shapes and formats using calenders, coating lines, extruders and moulding equipment to create sheeting, coated textiles and mouldings of different types. These products (depending on what they are) are then converted into or housed as part of assemblies in other products we may know or use. This is where in certain markets or applications, Hypalon rubber becomes known as something very specific.
At White Cross Rubber, we are specialist manufacturers of rubber sheeting and coated textiles. This means our knowledge of Hypalon rubber will be somewhat skewed towards the types of products we make.
Uses of Hypalon Rubber
Some of the major applications for Hypalon rubber are dinghies or ridged inflatable boats (RIBs). These types of boat are used as a yacht tender or by the Coastguard, for example. The inflatable collar that sits around the hull and keeps the vessel afloat is made of Hypalon rubber fabric. More specifically, woven polyester coated both sides with Neoprene – it is only the external skin that is made of Hypalon rubber. In this context, “Hypalon” is a coated textile or flexible composite material but is named simply “Hypalon” by users in this market.
Within this application, Hypalon rubber’s specific characteristics are what make it an ideal material. These characteristics are as follows:
1. To withstand a battering from the seas.
2. To accept bright colouration such as yellow or orange.
3. To not fade over time when left exposed to the elements.
Similarly, manufacturers of bulletproof vests ask for “Hypalon” when they are looking for Hypalon rubber coated nylon; and Hypalon rubber sheeting is well known in the pipe lagging industry. By the same token, Hypalon rubber strip is common in certain below ground waterproofing applications, although this is a thermoplastic derivative. Regardless, these are all examples of “Hypalon” becoming synonymous for something specific despite it not strictly being true.
Perhaps it’s because DuPont did such a good job in branding it that this curious word pronounced “Hype-alon” and not “Hip-alon” is stuck in the consciousness of so many people. Even more curious is that it is now for the benefit of other manufacturers.
Hypalon rubber is a mid-range performance elastomer. It has good mechanical strength, excellent resistance to dilute alkalis and acids and excellent Ozone, UV and weather stability. All of these characteristics make it suitable for a range of applications. For more information about Hypalon rubber or any of our other rubber sheeting, please call our Technical Sales Department on 01524 585200 or visit www.wcrp.uk.com.