Teknor Apex introduces new Sarlink TPEs

A new family of Sarlink thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) from US firm Teknor Apex expands the range of economic and performance alternatives available to manufacturers of sealing systems and other automotive components by providing similar and in some cases improved performance compared with thermoplastic vulcanisates (TPVs).

The new compounds are the first Sarlink products to be based on styrenic TPE (TPE-S) chemistry, which, unlike the widely used TPV automotive compounds, are not affected by variations in the price of EPDM rubber, a key ingredient in TPV manufacture, according to Teknor Apex. The Rhode Island-company suggested that automotive manufacturers can benefit from the TPE-S compounds as an additional tool in their tool kits, with their final material selection determined by the full range of cost and performance requirements of the application under consideration.

In general, TPE-S compounds exhibit strength and elasticity comparable to TPVs. They provide smoother part surfaces and equivalent or better long-term UV stability than TPVs and exhibit a broader processing window in injection moulding, Teknor Apex explained. While standard TPVs are restricted in color to natural and black, TPE-S compounds are available in a variety of custom-matched colors. Unlike TPVs, they generally do not require pre-drying. On the other hand, TPVs exhibit better resistance to hydrocarbon fluids such as oil and grease have a higher service temperature—115 ºC as against 100 ºC for TPE-S compounds.

Listed below are the four series of Sarlink TPE-S compounds being introduced for automotive applications:

  • High-performance extrusion compounds for functional parts such as sealing systems. Hardnesses range from 55 to 75 Shore A. The compounds are formulated for good surface appearance, elasticity, and chemical resistance, and they have excellent UV stability.
  • General-purpose extrusion compounds for non-functional parts such as semi-rigid supporting components for sealing system backbones. Hardnesses range from 40 Shore A to 50 Shore D.
  • High-performance injection molding compounds for window encapsulation and exterior trim. Hardnesses range from 55 to 70 Shore A. The compounds have a broad processing window, exhibit smooth surfaces, and provide excellent UV stability and heat resistance.
  • General-purpose injection molding compounds for under-hood and interior components. Hardnesses range from 40 Shore A to 50 Shore D. The compounds have a broad processing window and exhibit low odor and fogging in comparison with other TPEs.

Produced at facilities in Europe, North America, and Asia, the TPE-S compounds are physical blends of styrene block copolymers (SBCs) and other ingredients. The polymerisation process for producing SBCs permits precise control over the copolymer structure and yields a high degree of product consistency as a result of narrow molecular weight distribution. Properties of TPE-S compounds can be varied easily and widely by modifying the compound formulation, making possible a broad range of properties.

(IMA)

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