Choosing the Correct TPE

There are a variety of TPE technologies available offering a wide range of mechanical properties and end-use performance. In may cases, the performance range of different TPE polymers overlap and make specific grade selection uncertain.

Knowing how a material will be used in its end-use application is imperative during the material selection process. RTP Company product development engineers are well versed in seeking out the information necessary to ensure an appropriate material is recommended. This TPE application checklist has been developed to help you prepare thoughtful answers to common questions.

Application Checklist

A complete description of the application and its function or purpose?

  • What fabrication and assembly processes will be used?
  • If co-extrusion or overmolding process, what substrate material?
  • Is an existing material being replaced?

At what stage is the application in the design cycle?

  • Concept
  • Drawing
  • Tooling
  • Prototype
  • Material specification

Is there a cost target for a material to be considered?

  • Material cost per pound?
  • Material cost per part?

Are there temperature requirements?

  • Maximum service temperature?
  • Minimum service temperature?
  • Constant use temperature?
  • Length of exposure to temperature extremes?

Will there be exposure to environmental conditions?

  • Indoor, outdoor, or combination of use conditions?
  • UV exposure that may affect color or properties?
  • Exposure to specific chemicals?
    • Acids
    • Bases
    • Oils
    • Others
  • Time length of exposure to conditions?
  • Temperature during exposure?

Are there any regulatory requirements?

  • Flame retardant to UL or other agency standard?
  • Meet a specific automotive specification?
  • Comply with FDA or NSF for food or water contact?
  • Comply with USP class VI for a medical device?
  • Comply with European ATEX regulations?

Are there any physical property requirements?

  • Tensile strength?
  • Tensile elongation (yield or break)?
  • Tensile Stress (50% strain, 100% strain, or 300% strain)?
  • Flexural modulus?
  • Hardness (Shore A or Shore D)?
  • Tear strength?
  • Compression set (at temperature)?
  • Tensile set (at temperature)?
  • Rheology requirements (viscosity or melt flow)?
  • Specific gravity target?
  • Wear resistant or friction against a specific material?

Any other specific property needs?

  • Conductivity?
    • Anti-static
    • Static dissipative
    • ESD protection
    • EMI shielding
  • Structural or reinforcement requirements
    • Glass fiber or minerals
    • Density modification
  • Color or appearance?
    • Match custom color
    • Masterbatch
    • Transparent/translucent

For most applications not all of these properties will be applicable. There also may be specialized application needs that are not included on this list. By asking the right questions and through probing for the application needs, the true application requirements can be obtained and matching the right material can begin.

Request your copy of our TPE Elastomer brochure today!

Learn more about RTP Company’s extensive portfolio of elastomers and the process of having a specialty compound formulated for your application’s requirements.

Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) Brochure
More Information