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Features of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)

Features of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)

The thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) - it is a polymeric material which are characterized by physical properties of the vulcanized rubber and characteristics of thermoplastics. This material is like a an elastomer - for example, it can change shape and size, and back to the initial parameters. Among the main advantages of this material include its flexibility and elasticity.

The TPE structure consists of two parts. The first part is low modulus and easily deformed. The second part is hard - it binds the elastic zones. The TPE can change: when the material is heated to temperature higher than the melting temperature the TPE converts into polymer liquid.

The TPE are highly resistant to alkalis and chemicals, moisture, UV radiation, and negative effects of the environment, so that the thermoplastic elastomer can be used for the manufacture of products which are applied in building and sewage systems. Also the TPE is not toxic.

The main advantages of the TPE:

  • Softness and elasticity;
  • Preserving elasticity at low temperatures;
  • Recycling;
  • High resistance to chemical and thermal influences;
  • Long operating life;
  • Health safety.

It should be noted that the thermoplastic elastomers are classified into several types depending on which component is based of the thermoplastic elastomer. They are divided into:

  • Styrenic TPE - styrene rubbers are used as the main component;
  • Polyolefin TPE - EPDM rubbers are used as the main component;
  • Polyurethane TPE for which main component is polyurethane;
  • Polyester TPE - polyester is used as the main component;
  • Thermoplastic elastomers which are based on PVC.

The main components define the characteristics of thermoplastic elastomers and the scope of their application. And the main standardizing index of the TPE is hardness - it ranges from 25 Shore A to 60 Shore D usually. However the all types of thermoplastic elastomers are characterized by resistance to a wide range of temperatures, and in some cases their characteristics are exceed the characteristics of synthetic and natural rubbers. They can be characterized by:

  • Mechanical strength;
  • High  resistance to UV radiation, ozone and moisture;
  • High weather resistance;
  • Chemical resistance and benzo- and oil resistance;
  • Flexibility and toughness at high and low temperatures;
  • High wear resistance;
  • Improved characteristics at low temperatures;
  • Durability;
  • Resistance to shocks;
  • Elasticity;
  • High resistance to fatigue deformation etc.

Over time the thermoplastic elastomers improve its strength characteristics, as opposed to rubber which lose their elasticity.

The thermoplastic elastomers retain elastomeric properties at temperatures from -65 °C to +150 °C.

The TPE can be used for manufacturing the following types of products:

Transitional sanitary sleeves - they are used forconnection sanitary fittings to the sewer pipe.