What is Styrenic thermoplastic elastomer (TPS, TPE-S)?

Styrenic thermoplastic elastomer (TPS, TPE-S) also known as Styrenic Block Copolymers (SBC) are usually described as SBS or SEBS based compounds. They are tri-blocks copolymers containing an elastomeric midblock and polystyrene endblocks. The rubber midblock is typically a polydiene (either polybutadiene or polyisoprene), resulting in the well-known families of SBS and SIS polymers. These products are the first generation of styrenic block copolymers and discovered by Shell Chemical in 1950s.

To improve thermo-oxidative and UV stability, the polybutadiene or polyisoprene rubber block of an SBS or SIS polymer can be hydrogenated to form a styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene block copolymer (SEBS) or a styrene-ethylene-propylene-styrene block copolymer (SEPS). The double-bonds of SBS which are vulnerable to external influence are then broken. The SEBS polymers demonstrate excellent weatherability, thermal stability and high tensile strength, as well as the characteristics of a non-polar olefinic mid-block. These products are known as second generation of SBC. PHOENIX™ of Phon Tech are compounds mostly based of SEBS or SEPS polymers, some based of SBS polymers.

General features of TPS:
TPS can be considered as the merge of rubber and plastic together. They have the most similar characteristics with rubber. Compare with other TPEs, TPS have the strength of softness, elasticity and less deformation. SBC compounds have general features as below.
Easy to process and color
Excellent UV stability
Excellent weatherability
Ozone resistance
Excellent tensile and tear strength
Good compression and permanent set
Resistant to acid, base, alcohol

TPS Applications:
TPS are the most commonly used thermoplastic elastomer among TPEs. The SBS based TPS are commonly used for those applications that don’t need high specifications, such as shoe outsoles and hand tools grips. While SEBS based TPS show excellent physical properties and superior chemical resistance after being hydrogenated, make them have more design flexibility that can cater customers’ requirements. With superior UV stability and ozone resistance, TPS are ideal for outdoor applications. To sum up, TPS can be used in various markets and industries.
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