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Any of a class of elastomers (rubberlike synthetic organic compounds of high molecular weight) made by polymerization of the monomer 2-chloro-1,3-butadiene and vulcanized (cross-linked, like rubber), by sulfur, metallic oxides, or other agents. These synthetic rubbers, discovered in 1931 (seeW.H. Carothers), are generally too expensive to use in making tires, but their resistance to chemicals and oxidation (seeoxidation-reduction) makes them valuable in specialized applications, including shoe soles, hoses, adhesives, gaskets, seals, and foamed articles.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on neoprene, visit Britannica.com.