The Versatility of TPE or Thermoplastic Elastomer Compounds

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The Versatility of TPE or Thermoplastic Elastomer Compounds

There are hundreds of different applications in which TPE or Thermoplastic elastomer compounds are used. These include consumer goods (like soft-touch grips and footwear soles); skin contact (such as bracelets or dental devices); food contact (for instance beverage tubing or food container lids); automotive components (such as window extrusion and grab handles) and a range of industrial parts such as connectors, valves, seals, stoppers, and tubes, for multiple uses.

A TPE material offers TPEs in so many ways as you can formulate it to have a range of features designed for the intended use. Despite different TPE types, a TPE supplier can give suggestions and make it easy to pick the suitable TPE for your product.

This blog post explains what to consider when choosing a TPE compound.

Choosing a TPE Compound for Your Product

Medical, dental, and healthcare

Materials for healthcare or medical applications must comply with regulations for specific uses and countries. Since TPE is inherently plasticizer and latex-free, TPE compounds designed to be biocompatible contain low levels of extractable additives. Common methods for sterilization by a TPE gloves manufacturer such as autoclave and ETO and e-beam irradiation can be applied on TPE compounds with negligible to no discoloration.   

Flame retardant cable and wire

TPEs provide enhanced sturdiness and flexibility as jacketing materials in applications like industrial cables and flexible cords. UV resistance, formulations (with enhanced flame retardancy), and oil resistance are available along with a range of operating temperatures. TPEs give massive low-temperature flexibility while they are available with glossy or matte finishes.

Soft-touch, consumer goods applications

From soft footwear soles to toys for dog chew, TPE compounds offer strength, flexibility, high-surface quality, and the ability to modify feel and color easily, such as giving a soft touch to a product.

TPE’s softness is measured through its durometer or “Shore A hardness”. It means the lower the durometer, the softer the polymer.

TPEs can be as soft as 10 Shore A and all the way up to 95 Shore A hard. TPEs applied for soft-touch grips, usually have a durometer of around 60 to 75. 

Indoor vs. outdoor

If your product will be applied outdoors, the material will require to sustain all types of weather; particularly exposure to sun rays. Black colors are used often to offer protection from UV rays contained in sunlight. Additives can be used too in making a material resistant to UV light degradation; even if the material is light in color. 

Last Note

When picking a TPE, it is crucial to understand how it will be used. Find a plastic compound or TPE manufacturer that can aid you in finding the right material.

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