Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE)
What is Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE)?
◆ Thermoplastic elastomers are thermoplastics with an elastomeric component that makes them soft and flexible. Although they can have a rubbery feel and are sometimes called thermoplastic rubber, they are not made out of rubber. Unlike thermoset rubbers, these plastic compounds can be recycled. Thermoplastic elastomers can be formed into parts in the same way that other thermoplastics can be, so a "soft" TPE can be molded or extruded onto a "hard" thermoplastic in one process. This "co-molding" or "overmolding" creates design freedom that is not possible with thermoset rubbers. In addition, processing is much more efficient.
UNINKO Available Types of Thermoplastic Elastomer
◆ Styrenic Block Copolymers TPE compounds (TPE-S), UNINKO UTR1700 Series
TPE-S compounds are made from styrene and an elastomeric part connected in alternating blocks. Styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) is a common type. A related polymer is styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS), which is characterised by much improved heat resistance, mechanical properties and chemical resistance, oxidation resistance and outdoor weathering.
◆ Thermoplastic Polyolefins TPO compounds (TPE-O or TPO), UNINKO UTR1800 Series
TPO or TPE-O compounds are blends of polypropylene (PP) and un-crosslinked EPDM rubber, in some cases a low degree of cross-linking is present to boost heat resistanc and compression set proprties. They are used in applications where there is a requirement for increased toughness over the conventional PP copolymers, such as in automotive bumpers and dashboards. The properties are restricted to the high end of the hardness scale, typically >80 Shore A and with limited elastomeric properties.
◆ Thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPE-V or TPV), UNINKO UTR1900 Series
TPV or TPE-V compounds are dynamically vulcanised or crosslinked TPO compounds during the compounding phase, which gives TPV improved properties such as high compression set and resistance to heat deformation. TPV compounds have strong growth in EPDM-replacement for automotive seals, pipe seals, and other applications where a heat resistance of up to 120°C is required. Shore hardness values range typically from 45A to 45D.
◆ Thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPE-U or TPU), UNINKO UTR2000 Series
Thermoplastic elastomer urethane compounds (TPU or TPE-U) are based on polyester or polyether urethane monomers and commonly used for applications where a product requires excellent tear strength, abrasion resistance, and flex fatigue resistance. End-use applications include shoe soles, industrial belting, ski boots, and wire and cable. Hardness is restricted to the high end of the Shore A scale, typically >80 Shore A.
◆ Thermoplastic copolyesters (TPE-E or COPE or TEEE), UNINKO UTR2100 Series
TPEE is produced by 1,4-butanediol, polytetra-methylene glycol, and DMT or PTA going through copolymerization condensation, used where increased chemical resistance and heat resistance up to 140°C are needed. They also exhibit good fatigue resistance and tear strength and so are used in automotive applications such as blow moulded boots and bellows, wire and cable, and industrial hose applications. Again hardness is restricted to the high end and is typically between 85A to 75D.
Why UNINKO Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs)?
→ The Material Advantages:
◇ Design flexibility and broader range in product density
◇ Lower fabrication costs and per-piece finished part cost
◇ Shorter processing times and easier processing
◇ Lower consumption of energy
◇ Scrap is fully recyclable
◇ Better control of product quality and consistency of product
◇ Can be blow molded and thermoformed
◇ More environmentally friendly
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