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What is TPE?

In short
, TPEs are a family of rubber like materials that combine the characteristics of rubber with the recyclability and processing advantages of plastics.

The science bit; like thermoplastics, when heated and with the application of shear force, TPEs become free-flowing and when cooled regain their original structure and stability. Unlike the chemical cross-linking which occurs in thermoset rubbers, TPE involves purely physical cross-linking, which can be reversed via the further application of heat, this makes it possible to re-use all production waste and end of life products can be easily reprocessed.

TPEs exhibit elasticity similar to that of a cross-linked rubber. Their softness or hardness value is measured on the Shore durometer scale. Our TPEs are available as ultra-soft gel like materials measuring 0 Shore A through to rigid materials measuring up to 65 Shore D, and just about every variation in-between.

It is this design flexibility, high-performance and ease of processing that has led to designers increasingly turning to TPEs as their material of choice. TPEs are used in a variety of applications in the automotive, medical, construction, electrical, appliance, packaging and industrial markets – and new uses for TPEs are being developed all the time.

There are six generic classes of TPEs

  1. Styrenic block copolymers (TPE-s or TPS compounds based on SBS, SEBS)
  2. Polyolefin blends (TPE-O or TPO)
  3. Elastomeric alloys (TPE-V or TPV)
  4. Thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPE-U or TPU)
  5. Thermoplastic copolyester (TPE-E or TPC))
  6. Thermoplastic polyamides (TPE-A or TPA)

Polymer Family Tree

Hardness of Polymers