GuangDong Advanced Thermoplastic Polymer Technology Co., Ltd.
GuangDong Advanced Thermoplastic Polymer Technology Co., Ltd.
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Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) and Their Applications in Automotive Industry

Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) is a new type of polymer material that exhibits rubber-like elasticity at room temperature and plasticity when heated, making it a multifunctional and energy-saving material. It combines the dual properties of plastics and rubber, while eliminating the need for complex sulphurization equipment and high-energy processing required for traditional rubber processing. TPE has comprehensive characteristics such as softness, hardness, toughness, elasticity, pliability, recyclability, and excellent physical, chemical, and environmental adaptability.


Development of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE)


Since the 1970s, TPE has been increasingly widely used in many fields such as automobiles, construction, household appliances, wires, cables, electronic products, food packaging, medical equipment, and more.


Currently, TPE has entered a stage of high growth and rapid development overseas, with global demand reaching over 2 million tons per year for each variety of TPE. According to incomplete statistics, among the current industrial consumption structures: TPS accounts for about 42%; TPO accounts for about 35%; TPU accounts for about 8%; TPEE accounts for about 5%; and other TPE varieties account for approximately 10%.


Wide use of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) in modern automobiles


Since the 1980s, varieties of thermoplastic elastomer materials such as TPO, TPV, TPU, and TPEE have entered the automotive industry, significantly replacing various traditional thermosetting rubber and PVC materials with their apparent quality and performance advantages.


TPE refers to a polymer material that has excellent sulfurized rubber properties (i.e. elasticity) at room temperature and possesses thermoplastic engineering plastics' ability to flow and be repeated under high temperature, can be deformed, and still maintains its rubber-like elasticity. It can use traditional plastic processing methods, such as injection molding, extrusion molding, blow molding, and calendaring, for more rapid manufacturing of finished products than traditional sulfurized rubber. It also has advantages such as being light in weight (low density), environmentally friendly (recyclable, non-toxic when burned), long service life (can reach more than 5-10 times that of traditional rubber), high processing variability, and low overall product cost.


In recent years, as the automotive industry in China has grown rapidly, thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) (mainly TPV, TPO, and TPS) have formed an application market centered on the automotive industry, maintaining a high growth momentum with an average annual growth rate of 15%-20%. TPE is widely used in car bodies, interior and exterior decoration, structural components, and special applications, and its market share continues to expand. Since the new century, the development of the TPE application market in China has been rapid, becoming one of the fastest-growing countries for global TPE demand.

Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE) and Their Applications in Automotive Industry

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