What Makes for a Stronger, More Durable Nitrile Exam Glove

What Makes for a Stronger, More Durable Nitrile Exam Glove

Sep 12th 2018

Whether you work in medicine, food processing, automotive or body art, disposable gloves are necessary. But because they’re single-use, wearers don’t think too hard about the glove’s composition. In this blog we will examine nitrile gloves, their composition and why some are stronger than others.

What is Nitrile?

Nitrile is a petroleum by-product that is produced in a lab and is quickly becoming the material of choice for single-use gloves. The main reason is because unlike latex, a natural rubber, nitrile is synthetic and does not cause allergic reactions. It’s more resistant than natural rubber to oils and acids and has superior strength. It’s also more puncture-resistant than natural rubber gloves, especially if the latex has been degraded by exposure to chemicals.

Types of Nitrile Gloves

Choosing the proper disposable nitrile glove depends a lot on the application. The two main categories of nitrile gloves are industrial and medical grade.

Industrial Grade

Industrial grade nitrile gloves are best suited for applications that involve handling harsh chemicals and solvents. Along with chemical resistance, an important feature of industrial-grade gloves is a high level of puncture resistance. Industries that would use this grade of nitrile glove include: automotive, janitorial and food services. While industries like food services have specific requirements that gloves need to meet, they are not as stringent as medical-grade gloves.

Medical Grade

Medical gloves are used in areas where there’s a risk of contact with blood-borne pathogens or environmental contaminants. Medical-grade gloves, like any medical device, are regulated in the United States by the FDA, which has authority to regulate medical devices before and after they reach the marketplace. Due to this there are 3 different classes of medical grade gloves based on risk factors.

Strength and Thickness of Nitrile Gloves


The thickness of disposable gloves is measured in mils. A mil equals one-thousandth of an inch (0.001 inch). Disposable nitrile gloves can be as thick as 8 to 15 mils, but general-purpose nitrile gloves are typically four mils thick. Achieving the desired thickness for a disposable glove depends on: dwell time, pre-treatment concentration and nitrile viscosity. The more viscous the NBR compound is during the dipping phase, the thicker the disposable nitrile glove will be.


Tensile strength is a material’s ability to resist tension when being pulled apart. It’s measured by the greatest stress a material can withstand when stretched without breaking. The industry standard for tensile strength of disposable gloves is 14 megaPascal (MPa). A glove’s thickness used to have a direct correlation to its tensile strength. However, with innovation and technological advancement, thinner gloves are reaching the same tensile strength as thicker gloves.

Want to learn more about Nitrile gloves or try some for your business? Call us toll-free at 888-802-6449 or browse our website.