What is Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE)?

Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), also known as thermoplastic rubber (TPR) are high molecule materials which contain features of vulcanized rubber at normal temperature and plastics when heated. It means that once thermoplastic elastomers compounds are formed, they can be heated and reformed repeatedly. The ability of thermoplastic elastomers to process like thermoplastics and imitate the performance and feel of thermoset rubbers has made them stars among plastic materials over a long time.
Thermoplastic elastomers compounds are formed by physical cross-linking of hard phase (plastics) and soft phase (elastomers) materials. This physical cross-linking is reversible which indicates that the molecules are free of flowing at high temperature and regain their original structure and stability at room temperature. This property allows for easy process and facilitates recycling.

Many thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) families are available in the market. They can be classified as:
1) Styrenic Block Copolymers (SBC, TPS or TPE-S)
2) Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPU)
3) Thermoplastic Copolyester / Thermoplastic Polyester Elastomer (TPEE or TPE-E)
4) Thermoplastic Copolyamide / Thermoplastic Amide Elastomer (TPA)
5) Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)
6) Thermoplastic Vulcanizate (TPV)

General features of TPEs:
1) Capable of applying standard plastic processing method, like injection, extrusion, and blow molding.
2) No vulcanization is needed. Energy saving, reducing cycle time, and increasing production efficiency.
3) 100% recyclable and environmental-friendly
4) Good brittle temperature
5) Rubber like texture and feel
6) Lightweight

TPEs Applications:
Speedier processing and lower scrap rates have earned TPEs market niches that continues to expand in consumer, medical, automotive, constructions and buildings, and electronics. Through customized design according to actual requirements can demonstrate various feel, performance, color and as well reduce the system cost. Advantages over synthetic rubber such as recyclability, greater ease of processing and design flexibility are likely to ensure the continued penetration of TPEs in various applications.

Thermoplastic elastomer compounds manufactured by Phon Tech are sold under the trademark PHOENIX™. It is fabricated by the highly praised underwater pelletizer system. PHOENIX™ falls in the category of Styrenic Block Copolymers (SBC).
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