Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are a class of versatile polymeric materials known for their unique combination of elastomeric and thermoplastic properties. TPEs exhibit a remarkable balance of mechanical characteristics, such as flexibility, resilience, and ease of processing. This is primarily achieved through a molecular structure composed of both long-chain and short-chain segments. The long-chain segments provide the material with elasticity and rubber-like properties, allowing it to stretch and return to its original shape. The short-chain segments, on the other hand, contribute to the thermoplastic behavior, enabling TPEs to be melted and reshaped when exposed to heat.
TPEs exhibit a wide range of material properties depending on their specific formulation, making them suitable for various applications. They typically have a hardness range measured on the Shore A or Shore D scale, which can span from very soft and flexible to moderately hard and rigid. TPEs offer excellent tensile strength, tear resistance, and abrasion resistance, which make them ideal for applications that require durability and long-term performance. They also have good chemical and UV resistance, which enhances their suitability for outdoor and automotive applications. Additionally, TPEs are often characterized by their excellent adhesion to various substrates, including metals and other plastics, enabling strong bonding in multi-material assemblies. These materials are widely used in industries such as automotive, medical devices, consumer goods, and more, where their combination of mechanical properties, ease of processing, and versatility make them a preferred choice for many applications.
Common Industry Applications
The electric vehicle sector utilizes TPE vacuum casting for crafting soft, pliable components like vehicle grips and electrical insulation materials.
|0.9 - 1.2
|10 - 50
|0.1 - 1.0
|40 - 95
|0.1 - 0.25
|150 - 300
|1.0 - 1.5
|1e-14 - 1e-10
Vacuum casting with TPEs requires attention to material properties and process control. Using TPEs with low hardness values makes mold release easier. Consistent temperature control during curing ensures that parts have the desired properties. Adjusting vacuum pressure to remove air and prevent surface defects is also important.
Cost Saving Tip
For TPEs, cost savings can be achieved by optimizing molding parameters, such as temperature and pressure, to maximize the efficiency of the casting process. Using high-quality molds that are built to last and employing effective demolding techniques can help extend the mold’s lifespan, reducing replacement costs and overall production expenses.