What is the Difference Between Neoprene and EPDM

The main difference between neoprene and EPDM is that neoprene is a synthetic rubber made from chloroprene monomers, whereas EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is made from a mixture of ethylene, propylene, and a small amount of diene monomers.

Neoprene and EPDM are synthetic elastomers widely used in various industries. Both materials find applications in diverse fields, including automotive, sporting goods, and construction, but with differences in composition and specific properties.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Neoprene 
      – Definition, Features 
2. What is EPDM
      – Definition, Features 
3. Similarities Between Neoprene and EPDM
      – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Neoprene and EPDM
      – Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: Neoprene and EPDM
      – Frequently Asked Questions

Key Terms

Neoprene, EPDM, Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer

Difference Between Neoprene and EPDM - Comparison Summary

What is Neoprene

Neoprene is a polymer, meaning it consists of repeating units known as monomers linked together to form a large, chain-like molecule. Neoprene is made by polymerizing chloroprene molecules. Chloroprene, with the chemical formula C4H5Cl, is a monomer that contains a chlorine atom (Cl) attached to a butadiene molecule. The presence of the chlorine atom introduces stability and resilience to the polymer. The polymerization process results in a long chain of repeating units, and the chlorine atom remains attached to the carbon atoms in the chain. This chlorine substitution plays a vital role in enhancing the chemical stability and resistance of neoprene.

Neoprene vs EPDM

Neoprene’s versatile properties have positioned it as a crucial material in diverse industries. Notably, in the realm of water sports, it is a staple for wetsuits and diving gear due to its exceptional thermal insulation and water resistance, ensuring comfort and warmth for divers and surfers in cold water conditions. In the automotive sector, neoprene finds application in the manufacturing of various components such as gaskets, hoses, and seals, where its chemical resistance proves valuable for engine parts and under-the-hood use. Beyond this, neoprene is a prevalent material in the production of sporting goods, contributing to the flexibility and support of items like gloves, knee braces, waders, and footwear. Its adaptability makes neoprene a go-to choice in these industries, showcasing its widespread utility across various applications.

What is EPDM

EPDM is a copolymer, meaning it consists of more than one type of monomer. EPDM is formed from the polymerization of three primary monomers: ethylene, propylene, and a diene monomer. This combination of monomers results in a polymer with a specific structure that imparts its advantageous characteristics. The polymerization process of EPDM involves the co-polymerization of ethylene, propylene, and the diene monomer. This results in a long chain-like structure where the three monomers are interconnected.

The combination of saturated and unsaturated carbon-carbon bonds in EPDM’s chemical structure is what imparts its unique blend of properties, including excellent weather resistance, flexibility, low-temperature performance, and resistance to ozone and UV radiation. Additionally, the ability to cross-link the polymer during vulcanization enhances its strength and durability, making it an ideal material for applications in various industries, from automotive components to roofing materials.

Compare Neoprene and EPDM

EPDM is widely utilized across diverse industries owing to its exceptional properties. One of its primary applications is in roofing materials, particularly for flat and low-slope roofing systems, where it serves as a durable and weather-resistant membrane capable of enduring for extended periods. In the automotive sector, EPDM is extensively employed in the fabrication of seals, gaskets, and weatherstripping, providing an effective barrier against moisture, noise, and temperature fluctuations. The material is also crucial in cable insulation, safeguarding electrical cables from environmental elements and ensuring safety in electrical applications.

Moreover, its water resistance, chemical stability, and flexibility make EPDM a preferred choice for seals in various industrial settings, including pipes, tanks, and machinery. Additionally, EPDM plays a vital role in the production of automotive components like hoses, belts, and engine mounts, where its resistance to oils and coolants enhances its value in the automotive industry.

Similarities Between Neoprene and EPDM

  • Both neoprene and EPDM are synthetic elastomers or rubbers.
  • They are highly elastic and flexible materials.
  • They are used in the automotive industry and in the production of sporting goods.

Difference Between Neoprene and EPDM


Neoprene is a polymer made from the polymerization of chloroprene monomers, while EPDM is a copolymer that includes ethylene, propylene, and a diene monomer.


Neoprene contains chlorine in its chemical structure, while EPDM is free of chlorine.


Moreover, neoprene is resistant to UV radiation and weathering but is not as durable as EPDM in prolonged exposure to sunlight and outdoor conditions, while EPDM shows excellent resistance to UV radiation, ozone, and weathering.


Neoprene has good resistance to oils and some chemicals and moderate resistance to acids and bases, while EPDM exhibits excellent resistance to acids, bases, and polar solvents.


In addition, neoprene performs well in a broader temperature range, including resistance to higher temperatures, while EPDM excels in low-temperature flexibility.


Neoprene is commonly used in wetsuits, automotive gaskets, and electrical insulation, while EPDM finds applications in roofing materials, automotive seals, and electrical cable insulation.


Neoprene is generally more expensive than EPDM.

FAQ: Neoprene and EPDM

Is EPDM rubber neoprene?

No, EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber is distinct from neoprene; they are different types of synthetic elastomers with varying properties and applications.

What material is similar to EPDM?

Neoprene, nitrile rubber (NBR), and silicone rubber are materials similar to EPDM.

Are EPDM and neoprene fire-resistant?

Both are fire-resistant. However, neoprene has good fire resistance, while EPDM is less resistant to flames.


Neoprene and EPDM are synthetic elastomers widely used in various industries. The main difference between neoprene and EPDM is that neoprene is a synthetic rubber made from chloroprene monomers, whereas EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is made from a mixture of ethylene, propylene, and a small amount of diene monomers.


1. “Neoprene.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation.
2. “EPDM rubber.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Neoprene dry suit seam tape detail P8170015” By Peter Southwood – Own work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “EPDM rubber tube” By Redboston – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasini A

Hasini is a graduate of Applied Science with a strong background in forestry, environmental science, chemistry, and management science. She is an amateur photographer with a keen interest in exploring the wonders of nature and science.

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