Thermal and Mechanical Analysis of a Sustainable Alternative to Neoprene Wetsuits

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Industriell Produktion

Sammanfattning: A novel material composition has been investigated in terms of thermal, mechanical, economical and sustainable aspects to be compared to neoprene wetsuits. It is believed that a sandwich structure produced by a dipping method with rubber layers containing an insulating textile can insulate better than foamed neoprene. The hypothesis is also that this sandwich structure can increase durability and have similar elastic behaviour as neoprene. The effect of using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified rubber and recycled fabric has also been investigated from a sustainable point of view. To further test if this material can compete with neoprene, an economical analysis have been carried out. It was found using simulations and thermal conductivity measurements that the new material insulates approximately 35% better than a high end wetsuit material on the market which was expected due to the absence of rubber in the middle layer. In terms of elasticity, the new material has slightly higher elastic modulus than the neoprene suit, which is probably due to the use of solid instead of foamed rubber. Using a low modulus latex might change these results. Regarding sustainability many aspects are similar for both the new material investigated and neoprene such as transportation and disposition of the product. There is one large environmental gain for the novel material in using natural rubber with a FSC-certification and recycled cotton. The relatively limited cost analysis shows that the neoprene suit is slightly cheaper to produce. The dipping method used to produce the samples in this report is believed to be easier to automate, but there are certain complex problems when scaling up production to full wetsuits that need to be addressed.

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