Thermoplastic elastomer, referred to as TPE or TPR, is the abbreviation of thermoplastic rubber. It is a kind of elastomer which has the elasticity of rubber at room temperature and can be plasticized at high temperature. The structural characteristics of thermoplastic elastomer are that different resin segments and rubber segments are composed of chemical bonds. The resin segments form physical crosslinking points by means of inter chain forces, and the rubber segments are high elastic segments, contributing to elasticity. The physical crosslinking of the plastic segment changes reversibly with the change of temperature, which shows the plastic processing characteristics of thermoplastic elastomer. Therefore, thermoplastic elastomer has the physical and mechanical properties of vulcanized rubber and processing properties of thermoplastic plastics. It is a new polymer material between rubber and resin, and is often called the third generation rubber.
自從1958 年Bayer公司首次制備出熱塑性聚氨酯( TPU) 以來，TPE就得到了迅速發展，尤其是1963年苯乙烯類熱塑性彈性體問世以后，關于熱塑性彈性體的制備理論逐步得到完善，應用領域進一步擴大。
Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) has been developed rapidly since Bayer company first prepared TPU in 1958. Especially since the appearance of styrene thermoplastic elastomer in 1963, the preparation theory of TPU has been gradually improved and the application field has been further expanded.
Thermoplastic elastomer is a new polymer material between rubber and resin. It can not only replace part of rubber, but also modify plastics. Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) is widely used in the rubber industry for the manufacture of rubber shoes, rubber cloth and other daily products, as well as various industrial products such as rubber hose, tape, rubber strip, rubber plate, rubber parts, adhesives and so on. At the same time, thermoplastic elastomer can also replace rubber and be widely used in the modification of general thermoplastic resins such as PVC, PE, PP, PS, and even engineering plastics such as PU, PA, CA, which makes a new situation in the plastic industry.
Thermoplastic elastomers can be classified into two types: General TPE and engineering TPE. At present, TPE has been developed to more than 30 varieties in 10 categories. Polyurethane TPE was first discovered by Bayer of Germany in 1938, and styrene butadiene styrene block polymer TPE was developed by Phillips and shell in 1963 and 1965. Since 1970s, olefin TPE has been produced in the United States, Europe and Japan in large quantities. New TPE products have been emerging, forming a huge system of TPE today, which combines rubber industry with plastic industry Marriage is a big step forward. The industrial TPEs produced in the world include styrene (SBS, SIS, SEBS, SEPs), olefins (tp0, TPV), dienes (TPB, TPI), vinyl chloride (tpvc, tcpe), aminoesters (TPU), esters (TPEE), amides (tpae), organic fluorine (TPF), silicone and ethylene, etc., covering almost all fields of synthetic rubber and synthetic resin 。
Thermoplastic elastomer has the physical and mechanical properties of vulcanized rubber and processing properties of soft plastics. Since it is no longer necessary to heat vulcanize like rubber, the final product can be easily made with simple plastic processing machinery. With this feature, the production process of rubber industry is shortened by 1 / 4, energy consumption is saved by 25% - 40%, and efficiency is increased by 10-20 times. It can be called another revolution of material and technology in rubber industry.
The two main methods of manufacturing thermoplastic elastomer are extrusion and injection molding, and molding is rarely used. It is fast and economical to manufacture and process thermoplastic elastomer by injection molding. The injection molding methods and equipment used for general thermoplastics are suitable for thermoplastic elastomers.
Thermoplastic elastomers can also be processed by blow molding, thermoforming and thermal welding. These methods can not be applied to thermosetting rubber products.
Thermoplastic elastomer has the following characteristics in processing and application
1. Standard thermoplastic processing equipment and technology can be used for processing and molding, such as extrusion, injection, blow molding, etc.
2. Without vulcanization, rubber products can be prepared and produced, reducing vulcanization process, saving investment, low energy consumption, simple process, shortening processing cycle, improving production efficiency and low processing cost.
3. The waste can be recycled, save resources, and is beneficial to environmental protection.
4. Because it is easy to soften at high temperature, the service temperature of the product is limited.