What is Thermoplastic Polyurethane?
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is a thermoplastic elastomer used to produce articles characterised by abrasion resistance, toughness, elasticity, flexibility and resistance to oils and greases. Lighter than metal, it is has greater abrasion resistance than rubber, bonds easily to surfaces & can also be used as a malleable engineering plastic or as a replacement for rubber or cast urethane.
What are the benefits of using TPU?
Thermoplastic polyurethane, other wise known as TPU, can be found in numerous applications. Whether it’s serving as a superior replacement for other materials or being used in newly developed products, thermoplastic polyurethane has vast numbers of possible applications. The basic attributes that place TPU above other materials includes its extremely high wear resistance and resilience, good compression, durability, low temperature flexibility, superior tear strength, high elasticity, transparency, and excellent process ability. Combined with it’s resistance to water, oil and elevated temperatures, TPU delivers for the product designer, property performance, and processing.
To list just a few benefits of Thermoplastic Polyurethane;
- It can be vacuum-formed or solution coated, and is suited to a large variety of fabrication methods
- It’s oil, grease, fuel, solvent and chemical resistant.
- It can be easily coloured like other thermoplastic elastomers.
- TPU has multiple physical property combinations which enables the product to be very flexible and adaptable.
- TPU’s unique structure allows for greater versatility and high resilience, resistance to abrasion, and good compression set properties. It is tough and very durable, making it suitable for various soft and semi rigid applications.
- TPU can be used for both as a hard rubber or a soft engineering thermoplastic.
- It is easily washed and sterilised, as well as able to be welded, painted, printed and die-cut.
- TPU has excellent low temperature flexibility.
- It’s recyclable!
While this list is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of thermoplastic polyurethane, it’s easy to see how TPU has achieved its popularity through its use in a widespread range of products.
Alongside being a material that can be thought of as both a plastic and elastomer, thermoplastic polyurethane offers a multitude of application possibilities. Its range of properties open a pathway to technological innovations and advancements. With thermoplastic polyurethane’s ability to be able to meet the technical needs of particular applications, it’s no wonder why TPU is so highly sort after.
For additional information on the various applications of thermoplastic polyurethane, click here!