Thermoplastic Elastomers

Introduced in the 1960’s, Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE’s) are materials with rubberlike flexibility and extensibility — the ability to snap back quickly after being extended to twice their original length. Thermoplastic Elastomers have a wide range of hardnesses and can absorb vibrations (energy). There are many types of Thermoplastic Elastomers; we work mostly with the Styrenics, Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPUs) and Thermoplastic Olefins (TPOs).

Styrenic TPEs

Styrenic TPEs offer the lowest durometer along with the highest elongation. They have fair outdoor weatherability, good low temperature performance, low tension set and good “rubberlike” feel. They can be coextruded with a number of other materials. Styrenic TPEs are used in a number of “Grip” applications including handlebar grips, toothbrushes, razors, golf clubs, and power tools.

Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)

Thermoplastic Polyurethane is an Elastomer that comes in a variety of formulations so it can provide a considerable number of physical properties combinations making it an extremely flexible material that is useful in many types of customer applications. Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) offers high resilience, resistance to impacts, and abrasions, and has good weatherability. TPU’s offer flexibility with a broad range of hardnesses (65 Shore A to 80 Shore D Durometer) and high elasticity — up to 750% elongation. TPU’s have good load bearing capabilities; are easy to process, can be sterilized, welded, colored, painted, and printed. Thermoplastic Polyurethane has good low temperature flexibility. Specialty grades can be transparent, flame retardant, and anti-static.

Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO)

TPO is a Thermoplastic Elastomer used in glass sealing channels; garden and appliance hosing; tubing; electrical insulation, and roofing membranes. TPO’s are water resistant, have fair tensile strength, good elongation capabilities, excellent low temperature flexibility, good to excellent weathering capabilities and good colorability. UV resistant specialty grades are available making it an excellent material for outdoor use but be careful with solvents, and fuels — oils, gasoline, kerosene.


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