What is TPU

Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is a highly versatile elastomer with unique properties that offers both superior performance and processing flexibility. TPU is the ideal polymer for applications in a wide variety of markets, including footwear, adhesives and specialty molding. TPU has been providing benefits to designers, manufacturers and end users for over 50 years.

The key to TPU's versatility is that its hardness can be highly customized. TPU can be as soft as rubber or as hard as rigid plastics. The look and feel of TPU is just as versatile. It can be transparent or colored as well as smooth to the touch or provide grip. In addition to this adaptability, TPU can have a number of prized physical properties, including abrasion resistance, optical clarity and durability.

Chemistry

A TPU is a block copolymer consisting of alternating sequences of hard and soft segments. Its adaptability is due to the presence of both these hard and soft segments in its chemical structure. The proportion of hard and soft segments can be manipulated to produce a wide range of hardness. A greater ratio of hard to soft segments will result in a more rigid TPU.

The hard segments are isocyanates, and can be classified as either aliphatic or aromatic depending on the type of isocyanate. The soft segments are made of a reacted polyol. In addition to the ratio of hard to soft segments in a given grade of TPU, the type of isocyanate and polyol are responsible for the properties of the resulting TPU.

Processing

Grades of TPU exist for every method of thermoplastic processing. Different specifications of TPU are optimized for processes such as injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, overmolding, and calendaring. TPU is compatible with a variety of processing equipment.

Lubrizol's History with TPU

TPU was invented by Lubrizol Advanced Materials in 1959, while the company was still called BF Goodrich. Since TPU's invention, Lubrizol has continued to innovate the material, creating the first Non Halogenated Flame Retardant TPU and the first Static Dissipative TPU. As the inventor of TPU, no company can match Lubrizol's experience, knowledge or product portfolio.

Lubrizol has a strong history of partnering with customers to maximize their success. From helping customers realize the full potential of TPU ... to optimizing processing ... to customizing material to suit specific needs - Lubrizol's technical expertise and TPU knowledge stands apart.

Benefits of TPU

  • Excellent abrasion resistance
  • Outstanding wear resistance
  • Excellent low temperature flexibility
  • Superior toughness & durability
  • Wide processing window
  • Breathability
  • Optical clarity
  • Moisture vapor transmission (MVT) to barrier properties
  • Excellent adhesion to polar substrates
  • Microbial resistance
  • Low coefficient of friction (COF) to high friction
  • Flame retardant
  • UV resistant
  • Glass reinforced
  • Adhesion systems
  • Low to high elasticity
  • Hardness from 60A to 85D
  • Hydrolysis resistance
  • Static dissipative