Neoprene Fabric Material
Neoprene Fabric Material


Neoprene Fabric Material

Neoprene is an extremely versatile material with inherent thermal properties (as used in wetsuits) and the ability to contour to the body giving compressive support (as used in sports and orthopaedic supports). However, many applications of neoprene exhibit serious disadvantages and limitations of use because of the rapid build-up of heat and sweat with consequential discomfort for the user.

Over the years, in the quest to produce breathable high-performance fabrics, there have been many attempts to develop a breathable neoprene. Ventilated or perforated neoprene which is neoprene that has holes punched through it has been employed in many applications over the years, primarily because until now there has not been a better alternative. While ‘breathable’ neoprene has advantages over traditional neoprene in certain circumstances, the size and formation of the holes significantly reduce the insulation value resulting in condensation of sweat and cooling of the skin. It also causes significant changes in the material's compressive and elastic qualities.

Dr Nigel Middleton, the inventor of Stomatex® abandoned the traditional approach to breathable fabric systems and instead examined the means by which leaf plants remove vast quantities of water through otherwise impermeable surfaces - a process known as transpiration. The principal structure of this process is known as the stomata, which provides for an ideal set of physical circumstances that enable extremely efficient expulsion of water vapour from the plant.

Dr Middleton believed that it might be possible to replicate the thermodynamics involved in transpiration within synthetic man-made impermeable materials such as neoprene, thus enabling them to 'breathe' and therefore become more comfortable for human use in dry conditions.

He used the principle of transpiration and applied it to the non-breathing material neoprene. He developed a way to process the neoprene so it could breathe and dissipate excess heat and sweat, making the material more comfortable and able to be worn over longer periods of time.

In Stomatex®, trapped vapour is efficiently removed from beneath the fabric by the action of minute pumps, formed within the body of the material. When worn next to the body, it provides for a perfect microclimate against the skin, enabling extended comfort levels, when worn over longer periods.

Stomatex® is a high-performance breathable neoprene fabric material for protective clothing.