DUESSELDORF, Germany—At K 2019, Kraiburg TPE introduced its new thermoplastic elastomer hybrids, which it claims "close the performance gap" between thermoplastic elastomers and conventional elastomer compounds.
The platform is said to provide advanced TPE materials with a hardness range of 55 to 80 Shore A, with significantly improved performance based on different combinations of elastomers and thermoplastics.
"Combined with selected elastomers, the compounds provide the same features as elastomers, while maintaining the favorable workability of TPEs," according to a company news release.
TPE manufacturers have been trying for many years to find ways of matching the performance of classic elastomers, with some progress made with copolyester- and polyamide-based variants. So far, however, no TPE has matched the properties of elastomers or rubbers across the wide range of applications for these materials, Kraiburg TPE said.
To close the performance gap between, particularly in terms of heat resistance, the new approach "focuses rigorously on applications and customers," Dirk Butschkau, head of business development EMEA at Kraiburg TPE, said in a statement. "We select the proportions of elastomers and thermoplastics in each compound on the basis of their specific compatibility and suitability for the required application temperature, chemical resistance and mechanical performance,"
The result is a "custom-engineered" TEH compound with a completely crosslinked elastomer component, which can be melt processed and does not require the finishing steps needed with most elastomers.
Along with "excellent" mechanical properties, the materials provide continuous operating temperatures up to 150°C, and are highly resistance to oils, greases, lubricants and fuels, Kraiburg TPE claims.
TEH compounds can reduce the cycle time at comparable wall thicknesses by up to 80 percent in comparison with elastomers, the company said.
"We are currently testing the use of butyl rubbers to improve barrier properties and we're following various approaches to achieve softer TEH ratings below 50 Shore A," Butschkau said. "The wide choice of thermoplastics also includes plastics such as PE, PBZ, PET, TPO and TPU to influence certain material properties in specific ways."
Target applications include parts for engine covers, oil sumps, fuel caps, temperature control units, NVH components, connectors, cable glands and fasteners.
Initial uses, added Kraiburg TPE, include an application within the lubrication circuit of a two-liter diesel engine, in permanent contact with the engine oil and exposed to diesel and blow-by gases during driving with a cold engine.