Hello People. Thermoplastic rubber is one of the most salient human inventions as far as the innovation related to plastics is concerned. Let’s look into it from a more refined perspective.
What is TPR material?
TPR material, also known as Thermoplastic rubber, is a blend of rubber and plastics; thus, it possesses excellent physical properties. It is best suited for processing in Injection Molding. However, it has various applications and is utilized in multiple domains to mold into dozens of products. TPR possesses physical attributes of rubber and plastics, perfectly engineering in sync with certain thermoplastic and elastomeric properties as well.
Some of the salient features exhibited by TPR material include flexibility, good tear resistance, reusability, recyclability, and good abrasion resistance.
TPR Properties –
As mentioned earlier, ThermoPlastic Rubber (TPR) has the properties and features of both plastics and rubber; the list of beneficial properties is also quite impressive. It packs both thermoplastic and elastomeric characteristics. Let’s go through the list.
- Good dielectric properties
- Excellent resistance to weathering and chemicals
- High convolution fatigue strength
- Availability in a wide range of durometers.
- Broad temperature range
- Recyclable and reusable
Here’s a table with typical properties of Thermoplastic rubber.
|Tensile Strength||0.5 – 2.4 N/mm²|
|Thermal Coefiecnt of Expansion||130 x 10-6|
|Notched Impact Strength||no break Kj/m²|
|Density||0.91 – 1.3 g/cm3|
|Max. Continues use Temp.||upto 140°C|
|Oils and Greases||Very Good|
|Dilute Acid||Very Good|
|Dilute Alkalis||Very Good|
|Aliphatic Hydrocarbons||Very Good|
Advantages of TPR Material –
- TPR can be processed in traditional plastic machinery or equipment. No need for high-tech, auto, or semi-auto molding machines.
- Numerous customization options provide an opportunity to produce many different kinds of products.
- TPR can be co-molded and co-extruded with different kinds of plastics. The various customization options play a key role here.
- It has a faster production cycle compared to thermoset rubber.
Disadvantages of TPR Material –
Although TPR comes with a tremendous amount of benefits, even it has some important shortcomings to discuss.
- Hardness is TPR’s main property, which helps it maintain great chemical and weathering resistance. Still, it can also backfire as no softness will increase your material handling and processing complications.
- Poor bending also has similar effects as it makes the processing of material a bit more difficult.
- Material weight, poor ability to absorb shock, and poor permeability are a few other minor TPR shortcomings.
What is a ThermoPlastic Resin?
The thermoplastic resin is a plastic material that liquefies quickly to excellent moldability when heated to a specific temperature and solidifies as it cools down. Such a quick reaction to heat and cold thermoplastic resin can be shaped into various structures, making them viable for many industries.
There is an array of commercially available thermoplastics, nylon, acrylic, and polycarbonate, which can be used for various applications.
For example, Acrylic has multiple applications in industries like aquariums, signs, windows, and medical devices. Nylon is used to produce gear wheels and ropes. For almost any industry, there is a thermoplastic, which can come in handy.
Thermoplastic resins form chemical bonds when being utilized in the injection molding process called polymers. The bonding of various types of molecules secluded in the polymer chain will decide the plastics’ characteristics.
When the resins are heated, the molecular and about which we talked about now weakens. As a result, it transforms into a ferocious liquid, which is poured into a molding tool. Once the resin cools, the polymer chain becomes solid, resulting in producing your desired part.
Engaging Read – 6 Best Plastic Molding Techniques | A Complete Analysis
Difference Between TPR Material and TPE Material –
People get confused between those two materials a lot. TPR and TPE are both classified as thermoplastics. On the surface, both the material seems very similar, and up to someone extent, they are. But there are several differences between them, making their application quite different from each other.
TPE and TPR are modified versions of different materials. TPR is modified from SBS material, and TPE is usually modified from SEBS material. TPR is known for its hardness while the molding process. On the contrary, TPE’s SEBS material is regarded for its softness.
TPR material has characteristics of both rubber and molding abilities thermoplastics. TPR material provides increased flexibility compared to TPE. Additionally, what makes TPR material stand out is the wide variety of physical ranges, making it useful for many purposes.
The Interesting History of Thermoplastic Rubber –
Much in detail is not publicly known about the beginning roots of TPR rubber or plastic, but at first, it came into the market in 1959, and since then, a wide array of variations have been created. There are 6 main groups available commercially – thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPE-U), polyolefin blends (TPE-O), elastomeric alloys, and thermoplastic copolyesters (TPE-E), styrene block copolymers (TPE-S), and thermoplastic polyamides (TPE-A).
All of these variants are commercially available and used in different applications depending n the need of the end consumer.
The Shore durometer scale –
Shore durometer scales are used to measure the hardness of different materials. And as I was praising TPR materials’ hardness in the last paragraph, the hardness, when measured with highly dependable shore scales, ranged from 20 Shore OO to 85 Shore D.
As a professional who has worked in the plastics industry for almost five years, I believe if you’re contacting someone to deal with TPR material, find a company with good experience because TPR can only be processed in Injection Molding, and finding relevant expertise would increase your chances of manufacturing accurate and perfect quality products.
What is TPR material used for?
Ans. It is mostly used in the footwear and toys industry for gluing purposes. However, it doesn’t react well with adhesives. Several applications are so prevalent in the Tubing and Wires & Cables industries.
2. How do you clean thermoplastic rubber?
Ans. Cleaning it with warm water and a mild soap is advisable. To reach the tinier and more curvy areas, you can use a toothbrush and removes dust and debris. Moreover, after cleaning it with water, wiping should be primarily done with a clean and dry towel.
3. Are TPR products waterproof?
Ans. It is mainly used in products used for outdoor activity (mainly for waterproof soles in footwear). Soles made of thermoplastic rubber have a good grip on runny and slippery roads. The soles would be lighter in weight but would have a rougher texture.
4. Which is better, TPR or PVC?
Ans. Both materials are used to make hoses, but TPR hoses are smoother, have better abrasion resistance, efficient airflow, and minimum friction loss than PVC. As a result, they are suitable in conditions involving high temperatures, chemicals, moisture, and UV exposure.
5. Is TPR heat resistant?
Ans. It becomes heat resistant after cross-linking. However, excessive heat will vulcanize it and will yield water and silica after complete combustion.
Suggested Read –
- What is 3D Printing? | Types of 3D Printing | Applications of 3D Printing | Advantages & Disadvantages
- What is Rotational Molding | Rotational Molding Process | Advantages & Disadvantages | Best Material for Rotational Molding
- What is the Glass Transition Temperature of Plastics?
- What is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam? | EPS Manufacturing Process | EPS Properties | Expanded Polystyrene Vs. Extruded Polystyrene | Advantages and Disadvantages
- What is a Plastic Pallet? | The Definitive Guide
- What is FDM Printing? | The Ultimate Guide
- Plastics Vs. Polymers | What are the Differences?
- Food Grade Plastic: The Best Plastics for Food Applications
Final Thoughts –
Thus, were my views and insights on TPR material. Thermoplastic rubber and its other variations is an instrumental material making newer strides in the world of thermoplastics, also making it easier for manufacturers to produce quality products with entering new domains quite seamlessly.
I hope you like this article. I have done my best to mention all the relevant details. Feel free to share your reviews in the comment box.
Have a wonderful day.