What Is Viscoelastic Material?

Viscoelastic Material

Sorbothane® was developed in Ohio in the 1980s. It is a viscoelastic material that uses many of the same properties of others in that genre. Viscoelastic materials were first developed in the late twentieth century and used for a wide range of applications. The list of items that can be made with viscoelastic materials would cover the whole gamut from tiny (ear plugs) to enormous, (mechanical applications used in factories) and everything in between. It is a material that has applications not only for companies big and small but for individuals as well.

Viscoelastic materials are used to reduce noise transmission, vibration transfer and vibration related stress. Depending on the type of material and its application, viscoelastic material can be used to relieve stress and pain on the human body as well as to protect delicate components in various types of machines and equipment.

Why Sorbothane is a Good Shock and Vibration Solution

Because of the way that viscoelastic material work as well as some of the properties that it has, it can be used with great success for shock absorbing and for protection from vibration issues. How viscoelastic materials perform differs from materials that are either viscous or purely elastic in a number of ways including:

    • If stress is constantly applied, the strain that is exerted will increase with time.
    • If strain is constant, stress will decrease with time meaning the material may relax or sag.
    • Effective stiffness may depend on the rate of the application of the load (weight).
    • If cyclic loading is applied, mechanical energy is typically dissipated.
    • The rebound of energy from an object is less than 100%.
    • During rolling (or similar motions) frictional resistance can occur.

Pure elastic may not snap back as quickly after a load is removed- and because of its chemical makeup can only take the load, unload cycle so many times before it is stressed out too far and breaks. A purely viscous material may not have enough strength under certain types of loads. Using the combination of the two materials allows for the benefits with some of the drawbacks reduced or avoided as much as possible. Sorbothane also adds other polymer fibers and materials to enhance flexibility and strength of its material.

Sorbothane Is More Than Just a Product, It Is a Solution

Sorbothane is the answer to many different questions. It can be the perfect solution for many needs and problems for the average guy to huge corporations and even the government. There are even some applications that may have included Sorbothane that are completely secret!

There are many different reasons Sorbothane is an ideal solution:

    • To increase comfort during a leisure activity
    • To increase comfort during a work related task
    • To allow for less physical pain
    • To prevent injury
    • To allow for more effective use of available energy
    • To protect sensitive equipment or machinery
    • To reduce the sound that is generated by some machines
    • To reduce the damage of vibrations during transportation
    • To protect hearing

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An Example of Sorbothane and Viscoelastic Materials

They are small and often forgotten. People lose them by the dozens and they are rarely considered important, but they can protect one of your five senses. They are ear plugs and are used by people in many different leisure and work related situations. To be effective but still comfortable, ear plugs must be soft and pliable, able to absorb much of the loudest sounds that can cause hearing loss in the long run but can also lead to pain and hearing issues in the short term.

Whether you are a shooter using ear plugs while on the firing range or a worker in a loud factory, the right ear plugs can protect your ears and hearing. Viscoelastic materials such as Sorbothane are malleable allowing them to be shaped to the ear canal for maximum comfort while still providing the best protection.

Of course, Sorbothane is used in many other types of applications beyond the ear plug example. Some of these applications are meant for the average person, while others are meant for businesses of varying sizes. From shoe insoles to small parts for the largest machines, you can find many of the perfect solutions to your needs.

How Can Sorbothane Help You?

Sorbothane is not only a valuable material as it stands; it is also an excellent material that can be used in new, completely customizable ways. When people have a problem they might search the Sorbothane website, see what is offered there and not see anything that is going to work quite right. Dejected, they turn away. But those people do not realize that Sorbothane can be customized to suit any project, big or small. Items that already exist can be adapted to be more suitable including larger sizes, smaller sizes, different thicknesses and even different colors.

It is a simple matter of calling Sorbothane to discuss your needs (vibration control, noise reduction, protection or more) and the type of solution you might want to use. If they cannot help you find the right solution, they will help you to design it. Custom designs are an excellent way to get the right solution for any problem that you might have.


Sorbothane, which comes in standard sizes and colors, as well as customized orders for customers in all walks of life and industries, is created in Ohio and has been for 40 years. The company will work with you to find the right solution for all of your needs, no matter what they are. Your needs can and will be solved by our solutions.

If you’re searching for a viscoelastic material that will work for your product or application, Sorbothane’s engineers can create a custom solution for you. Request a quote.

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