Published: June 1993
Thermoplastic elastomers are polymers that combine the flexibility and impact resistance of thermoset rubbers with the strength and convenient processibility of thermoplastics. The elastomers can be processed on widely used extrusion, injection molding, or blow-molding equipment, which allow faster production than slow-cycling, capital-intensive rubber processing equipment. Thermoplastic elastomers have experienced healthy growth as replacements for traditional synthetic and natural rubbers, primarily because of their easier processing. They are used in a variety of applications, including automotive components, sporting goods, hose, cable jacketing, seals, and shoe soles.
This supplementary report reviews the market conditions and important technical progress made in thermoplastic elastomers since PEP Report 186 on the subject was issued in January 1987. The economics developed in this report address the following new products and improved processes:
- Reactor thermoplastic polyolefin elastomers - a new variety of thermoplastic polyolefin elastomer that are made by sequential in-reactor processes and that do not require additional blending or vulcanization
- Thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers - a new sheet/extrusion process developed by BASF that eliminates the need for expensive oven curing
- Polyamide thermoplastic elastomers - a new high-performance thermoplastic elastomer based on nylon.
For those in the thermoplastic elastomers business, this report will be useful for its extensive review of recently published literature and the comparative economics it provides. The report� s discussion of the underlying principles of the product technology will also be valuable for users of thermoplastic elastomers.