When we asked Yana and Magnus from our technical team how they respond to the question ‘What is TPE?’ we didn’t expect the answer to include cookie dough, but we think it’s a pretty cool explanation of what we do…
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
Styrenic Block Copolymers (TPE-s or TPS compounds based on SBS, SEBS)
Polyolefin blends (TPE-O or TPO)
Thermoplastic Vulcanisates. Elastomeric alloys (TPE-V or TPV)
Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPE-U or TPU)
Thermoplastic Copolyester (TPE-E or TPC)
Thermoplastic Polyamides (TPE-A or TPA)