What Is TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)? Everything You Want To Know

What Is TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) Everything You Want To Know

First off, what exactly is TPE?

A flexible, rubber-like substance that behaves like plastic is known as a thermoplastic elastomer, or TPE. True thermoplastics, such as TPEs, don’t need to be vulcanized or cured. Thermoplastic elastomers are processed with a variety of plastic manufacturing tools, including injection molding, extrusion, and blow molding.

A TPE can be applied to more complex processing methods like overmolding and two-shot molding, as well as to auxiliary procedures like welding and bonding to various materials. Thermoplastic elastomers allow for flexible part design and simple bonding to other thermoplastic substrates.

For more information, continue reading.

What Is TPE?

In the category of thermoplastic polymers, there are thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). Additionally, they belong to a group of copolymers, which are a physical fusion of rubber and plastic polymers and have both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. TPEs are also known as thermoplastic rubber because they have some of the same functional characteristics as rubber. TPEs are recyclable, though, and are processed in a manner akin to plastic.

But what exactly are elastomers? TPEs are made of elastomers, which is a shorter way of saying that the material is highly elastic. This enables them to be stretched to two times their original length and then released to return to that length.

TPEs are suitable for a range of consumer goods and markets because they are soft to the touch. Additionally, molding and extruding soft thermoplastic elastomers onto other TPEs is simple. They are therefore perfect for bottle cap liners, sealing rings, and soft grips on products.

Additionally, there are six generic classes of thermoplastic elastomers used in commerce:

  • Styrenic Block Copolymers (TPS or TPE-s)

  • Polyolefinelastomers (TPO or TPE-O)

  • Vulcanizates, (TPV or TPE-V)

  • Polyurethanes (TPU or TPE-U)

  • Copolyester (TPC or TPE-C)

  • Polyamides (TPA or TPE-A)

  • Unclassified Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPZ)

These additional TPE types can be used to make HVAC systems, HVAC insulation, automotive parts, and home appliances.

What Is TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)  Everything You Want To Know
What Is TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) ? Everything You Want To Know

The Different Types Of TPE

The various TPE types and their modification possibilities form the basis for a wide range of material properties, allowing for efficient processing in applications across the broadest possible range of industries.

TPEs help to improve products and distinguish them from rivals. Additionally, they assume many technical roles that elastomers have previously held. TPE use not only improves a product’s advantages but also offers processors financial rewards.

TPE materials are categorized as belonging to a class of materials between thermoplastics and elastomers based on their processing and behavior. They constitute a distinct class of materials.

Basically, a distinction is made between reactor-made TPEs (e.g. TPA, TPU, and TPC) and TPE compounds (e.g. The traits of TPEs created in reactors are incorporated into a single polymer, including TPS and TPV. The characteristics of TPE blends are produced by combining various polymers to create a so-called compound.

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How Is TPE Processed?

TPEs are processed using injection molding or extrusion and are heated, just like thermoplastics. They can be recycled like thermoplastics because after cooling, they revert to their original elastic characteristics. Elastomers, which are chemically crosslinked and cannot be recycled, cannot be processed by melting like TPEs can.


What Goods Are Made Of TPE?

Throughout the world, thermoplastic elastomers are in use. Consumer goods, medical devices, power tools, home furnishings, shoe insoles, and motorcycle grips are just a few examples of products that use TPE materials.

In What Ways Is TPE Affected By High Temperatures?

Extreme temperature ranges can be endured by TPE without warping or cracking.

How Durable Is TPE?

Thermoplastic elastomers are soft to the touch but tear-resistant. Thermoplastic elastomers are particularly useful in automotive applications due to the noise and vibration dampening properties of TPE material. TPE is used in grips similar to those that are frequently found on exercise equipment. TPE is also readily colorable and present in products all around us. Additional TPE applications include the handles on gardening tools, the soft grips on toothbrushes, and dog chew toys.

Is TPE Appropriate For My Customized Product?

Thermoplastic elastomers from Star Thermoplastics’ TPE product lines can be tailored to meet your specific end-use requirements. We provide a broad range of hardness, from gel-like products in Shore OO to soft-touch Shore A range to harder Shore D TPE grades.

What Characteristics & Advantages Do TPEs From Star Thermoplastics Offer?

  • Chemical and UV resistant
  • Colorful
  • Grippy
  • Tear resistant
  • Resilient
  • Soft to the touch
  • High-flow for easy molding
  • Lightweight or dense
  • Safe for human consumption for chew toys
  • Flame Retardant
  • Extremely clear
  • Pliable in cold weather
  • Vibration damping and noise-reducing

The Bottom Line

Similar to a cross-linked rubber, TPEs have elasticity. On the Shore durometer scale, their level of hardness or softness is measured. Our TPEs come in a variety of forms, from ultra-soft gel-like materials with a Shore A hardness of 0 to rigid materials with a Shore D hardness of 65, and nearly every variation in between.

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