Thermoplastic elastomers, also known as thermoplastic rubbers and commonly referred to as rubber, rubber or flexible PVC, are a class of copolymers or physical mixture of polymers (generally a plastic and a rubber) that give rise to materials with thermoplastic and elastomeric characteristics. While most elastomers are thermosetting, thermoplastics are, on the other hand, relatively easy to use in manufacturing, for example, in injection molding.
Thermoplastic elastomers combine the typical advantages of rubber and plastic materials. The main difference between thermoset elastomers and thermoplastic elastomers is the degree of crosslinking in their structures. In fact, cross-linking is a critical structural factor that contributes to the material acquires high elastic properties.
That thermoplastic rubbers are classified as Thermoplastic elastomers
A thermoplastic elastomer material can be classified if it meets the following characteristics:
- Ability to be stretched with moderate elongations and that, when the tension is removed, the material returns to its original state.
- Processed in the form of casting at high temperatures.
- Absence of significant creep.
Commercially, six types of thermoplastic elastomers,styrenic block copolymers, polyolefin blends, elastomeric alloys, thermoplastic polyurethanes, thermoplastic copolyester and thermoplastic polyamides can be considered.
Most common rubbers, rubber or flexible PVC are: TPE, TPV, EPDM, SEBS, SBS, PVC and are in two degrees of hardness Shore A and Shore D, the minimum and maximum are depending on each of the materials, although normally they are from 35 to 90 Shores.
The rubber, rubber or flexible PVC, can be additivated with ultra violet protection, flame retardants, foaming, chemical protection, special for over injection …
The main uses of thermoplastic rubbers, rubber, rubber or flexible PVC, are:
- Sealing gaskets
- Dust covers
- Snowmobile guides
- Shoe soles
- Suspension bearings in cars
- Electrical cable insulation coatings