Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs) and Thermoplastic Vulcanizates (TPVs): Structure, Properties and Recent Applications

Prof. Dr. Kinsuk Naskar

Rubber Technology Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Kharagpur-721302, India


Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are one of the fastest growing polymeric materials which combine the elastic and mechanical properties of cross-linked rubbers with the melt processability of thermoplastics. The unique characteristics of TPEs make them very useful and attractive alternatives for conventional elastomers in a variety of markets, such as automotives, footwear, buildings and constructions, wires and cables etc. Styrenic thermoplastic elastomers like S-B-S block copolymers are most important class of soft TPEs. On the other hand, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is the most important class of hard TPEs. The primary advantage of a TPE is its ability reuse and recycle the production scrap and waste. Thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs) or dynamic vulcanizates are a special class of TPEs, produced by simultaneous mixing and crosslinking of a rubber with a thermoplastic. TPVs represent the second largest group of soft thermoplastic elastomers, after styrenic based block copolymers.