Thermoplastic elastomer(TPE)

TPE is the general name for Thermoplastic Elastomer, also called thermoplastic rubber. TPE is a rubber like material that can be processed with thermoplastic technologies such as injection moulding or extrusion. Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are compounds made from a hard thermoplastic materials like PP, PBT or PA in combination with soft rubber material often incorporating additives e.g. oil and filler. Thermoplastic elastomers show advantages typical of both rubbery materials and plastic materials. The benefit of using thermoplastic elastomers is the ability to stretch to moderate elongations and return to its near original shape creating a longer life and better physical range than other materials.The principal difference between thermoset elastomers and thermoplastic elastomers is the type of cross-linking bond in their structures. In fact, crosslinking is a critical structural factor which imparts high elastic properties.

There are six generic classes of commercial TPEs:

·         Styrenic block copolymers, TPS (TPE-s)

·         Thermoplastic polyolefinelastomers, TPO (TPE-o)

·         Thermoplastic Vulcanizates, TPV (TPE-v or TPV)

·         Thermoplastic polyurethanes, TPU (TPU)

·         Thermoplastic copolyester, TPC (TPE-E)

·         Thermoplastic polyamides, TPA (TPE-A)

·         Not classified thermoplastic elastomers, TPZ