As we browse through safety gloves for purchase, besides popular choices like neoprene, nitrile, or latex pairs, butyl gloves occasionally pop up in our search. Many might not know that these gloves are also a resilient and effective shield against chemicals and liquids.
So, what are butyl gloves made of that make them as strong as they are? Find out the answer below and more about these safety pairs.
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What Are Butyl Rubber Gloves?
Indeed, gloves that are chemically resistant are usually made from rubber, and butyl gloves are not an exception. Butyl rubber is actually a synthetic elastomer made from the polymerization of isobutylene (98%) and isoprene (2%).
Butyl gloves are made from synthetic rubber, which is pretty similar to neoprene gloves. Meanwhile, latex gloves are from natural rubber, and nitrile pairs are from a copolymer. All of them, including butyl gloves, can resist a wide range of corrosive agents and harmful liquids.
Unlike other gloves, which can come in many colors, butyl pairs are easily recognized with their black color. When searching for butyl gloves, you might notice most of them are in black. Sometimes, you might see pairs available in gray or dark green, but there are just a few of those.
Furthermore, most butyl gloves come with long sleeves, often 10-14 inches. And their thickness can vary, including pairs 0.3-mm, 0.6, 0.7 mm, and even 14-mm thick. Indeed, the thick pairs offer better protection against hazards, while thinner gloves ensure better dexterity and puncture resistance.
What Do Butyl Gloves Protect Against?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), butyl is included in the glove selection chart for chemical resistance.
A pair of butyl gloves can block hazardous chemicals, including:
- High-corrosive acid: sulfuric, nitric, hydrofluoric, and red-fuming nitric acids, etc
- Peroxide: a colorless liquid found in hair dyes, laundry stain removers, bathroom cleaners, etc.
- Rocket fuels
- Strong bases: barium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, and strontium hydroxide.
- Ketones, nitro compounds, aldehydes, and esters
Furthermore, OSHA recommends using butyl gloves for working with acetone, butyl alcohol, citric acids, epoxy resins, ethyl alcohol and ether, formic acid, etc.
You can check out the list provided by the U.S. Department of Energy to see if you can use a pair of butyl gloves to handle your current work conditions:
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Viton the same as butyl?
Both Viton and butyl are recommended gloves for chemical resistance. However, each can shield against different types of chemicals and hazards. In detail, Viton gloves are often used to deal with polychlorinated biphenyls, benzene, polychlorinated triphenyls, and aniline, etc.
Furthermore, regarding the material, Viton (fluoroelastomer) and butyl are made of two different polymers.
Are butyl rubber gloves reusable?
Yes, they are. A quality pair of butyl gloves can last for months with washing and good care. These gloves can offer superior protection against chemicals, thus allowing prolonged use without wearing down or discoloration.
Why should we use butyl gloves?
There are many work gloves available for blocking chemicals to protect our hands. Some are latex, nitrile, natural rubber, Viton, etc. So, why should we stick with butyl gloves? Here’re some good reasons:
- Cost-effective – Instead of paying for a whole pack of nitrile or latex gloves, we can go for a pair of reusable butyl gloves. It allows washing and reusing numerous times, lasting months without compromising its functions. So, that’s one way to save costs.
- More importantly, we contribute to reducing waste by using one glove instead of throwing away a package of disposable gloves after several tasks.
- Excellent protection – This is not a baseless claim, since OSHA confirms that butyl gloves are great to use when handling various chemicals, even high-corrosive acids. Therefore, we can protect our hands and skin while wearing these gloves for work.
- Various choices – When choosing butyl gloves, we can pick long-sleeve ones to keep chemical splashes and vapors from hurting our forearms. Furthermore, these gloves are available in multiple thicknesses. With that, we can pick a suitable one that offers excellent dexterity or better chemical protection, depending on our tasks.
Hopefully, you have a satisfying answer to the question ‘What are butyl gloves made of?’ after reading our article above. Many of us often just buy products when recommended without fully knowing what they are best used for. But, that should not be the case for safety apparatus like gloves, helmets, footwear, etc.
So, if you find the information here helpful, feel free to share it with those who need it. And you can leave a comment below regarding any question about butyl and other chemical-resistant gloves. We will try to reach you as soon as possible. Thank you!
This is Edward Manning, the editor in chief of Construction Informer. Quite a bit of my time is spent researching the market and interviewing experts in the field so that I can give you reliable information.