Here we go through and describe the materials that are referred to as TPE and TPU. It is about what they are used for, when to choose TPU instead of TPE and vice versa, and what properties they have. Do not hesitate to contact us for more detailed information.
TPE is the more general term for thermoplastic elastomer, which is also called thermoplastic rubber. TPE is elastic with varying hardness. Often used as a material in consumer products. There are lots of examples of such products and these are products where you want a certain elasticity for the material. The difference between TPE and TPU is that TPE has abrasion resistance and strength that are slightly lower.
Variants of TPE are TPE-S and TPE-A.
TPU is a thermoplastic elastomer based on polyurethane, a thermoplastic variant of polyurethane rubber. This variant can be melted down and recycled. The process can be quite cumbersome, but it is possible. The most common TPU materials are those based on polyester and polyether. Polyester-based, which are most common, have better mechanical properties while the hydrolysis resistance is better for the polyether types. You choose TPU over TPE when you want to manufacture products with slightly higher requirements for abrasion and pressure resistance, as well as a longer lifecycle. Therefore, TPU is more common as a material for components found in, for example, heavy industry, while TPE is more commonly found in consumer products. TPE is a little easier and cheaper.
- Abrasion resistance is better
- The oil resistance is very good
- The mechanical properties are very good
- Excellent heat resistance