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Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE)



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2. Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), sometimes referred to as thermoplastic rubbers, are a class of copolymers or a physical mix of polymers (usually a plastic and a rubber) which consist of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. While most elastomers are thermosets, thermoplastics are in contrast relatively easy to use in manufacturing, for example, by injection molding. Thermoplastic elastomers show advantages typical of both rubbery materials and plastic materials. The principal difference between thermoset elastomers and thermoplastic elastomers is the type of crosslinking bond in their structures. In fact, crosslinking is a critical structural factor which contributes to impart high elastic properties. The crosslink in thermoset polymers is a covalent bond created during the vulcanization process. On the other hand the crosslink in thermoplastic elastomer polymers is a weaker dipole or hydrogen bond or takes place in one of the phases of the material.

(Wikipedia, Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE), 6/27/2012)


1. “Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) means a block copolymer comprising alternating blocks or segments that are called hard or rigid (rather with thermoplastic behavior) and blocks or segments that are pliable or flexible (rather with elastomeric behavior). The flexible blocks are generally based on polyethers (PE) selected from poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), poly(1,2-propylene glycol) (PPG), poly(1,3-propylene glycol) (PO3G), poly(tetramethylene glycol) (PTMG), and copolymers or blends thereof. The rigid blocks are generally based on polyamide, polyurethane, polyester or a mixture of these polymers.

As examples of copolymers with rigid blocks and with flexible blocks, we may mention respectively (a) copolymers with polyester blocks and polyether blocks (also called COPE or copolyetheresters), (b) copolymers with polyurethane blocks and polyether blocks (also called TPU, abbreviation of thermoplastic polyurethanes) and (c) copolymers with polyamide blocks and polyether blocks (also called PEBA according to IUPAC).”

[Malet, Le and Jouanneau, US Patent 8,231,950 (7/31/2012)]


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(RDC 6/5/2012)


Roger D. Corneliussen

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Copyright 2012 by Roger D. Corneliussen.
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* Date of latest addition; date of first entry is 6/27/2012.