What are Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are known best in the medical industry, where these gloves have quickly become a replacement for latex gloves. Nitrile provides all of the same protection from punctures, cuts, and chemicals as latex gloves, but relieves the worry of allergic reactions.

History of Nitrile gloves

Two men, Neil Tillitson and Luc DeBecker, invented nitrile gloves in the 1980s. The final formula and technique for manufacturing was finalized in 1990. The patent for the Nitrile glove formula and production method was given to the Tillitson Corporation in the late 1990s.

Similar to latex gloves, a high percentage of Nitrile glove factories are located in Malaysia. During the AIDS epidemic that took place in Malaysia from the late 1980s to early 2000s, there was a huge increase in demand for Nitrile gloves and factories began manufacturing the gloves in huge quantities.

As latex allergies grew increasingly more prominent in medical practitioners and their patients, Nitrile grew in popularity because they are such an exceptional alternative to latex gloves.

What are Nitrile gloves made of?

Nitrile is a synthetic latex, or rubber, with a composition of physical properties that are resistant to oils and petroleum fuels. As it is well known for, Nitrile contains no latex proteins. This synthetic material produces gloves that are up to three times more puncture resistance than latex. The properties that make up Nitrile deliver an excellent glove that is used widely in many industries, particularly medical and food service applications.

How are Nitrile gloves made?

Nitrile itself is made in a chemistry lab, undergoing processes that only those of us who have a degree in chemistry would understand. However, what we can wrap our minds around is that the production of Nitrile is much less complicated and much more cost effective than the production of natural latex rubber.

Nitrile gloves are made in an assembly line where glove forms are first dipped in a calcium nitrate solution. This solution coagulates on the glove form, and is a factor in how thick the glove is in its final form. Once the calcium nitrate solution has dried evenly on the glove form, the glove form is dipped in the Nitrile solution to form the glove. This cures on the glove form before a strong, direct burst of air blows the newly created glove right off the glove form. 

Processes used for easier glove donning:

Nitrile gloves undergo one of three processes: chlorination, polymer coating or by adding cornstarch. Chlorination involves exposing the gloves to chlorine – as an acid mixture or gas – to make the material harder and more slick. Polymer coating lubricates the glove surface by adding a layer of polymer. For powdered nitrile gloves about 1/8 teaspoon of cornstarch is typically placed inside each glove to act as a lubricant and make it easier to don.

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