Unusual TPE Used in Swim Fin for Amputees

S&E's TPE compound is well-suited to the new Amp Fin swim fin.

Amp Fin, a new swim dive fin designed specifically for amputees, resulted from S&E Specialty Polymers LLC, Lunenburg, Mass., partnering with Amp Fins, LLC, a Maine company that designed and developed the novel patent-pending product.   

            A key challenge in this seven-year development was the material. It needed to to have the proper durometer to soft enough to prevent chafing but firm enough to both make a strong push in the water and stand on itself without deforming. S&E developed the perfect thermoplastic elastomer compound for Amp Fins, according to company president Lori Lord. The TPR/SEBS based material—TufPrene 4005            C-80A, is just the right durometer, with sufficient memory and rigidity to keep its shape but enough softness to be comfortable. Too, the compound is neutrally buoyant, is heat resistant, and available in numerous colors. The design is said to allow for a 100% power stroke in both directions, which allows the amputee to more efficiently and effectively swim than someone with both limbs intact.

            Thanks to both the efficiency of design and the material, the fin is reportedly an improvement on the rocket fins used by the Navy SEALS. Each fin is custom designed for each individual. Originally designed for veterans and victims of trauma, it is also functional for people with other reasons for their amputation. Amp Fins is partnered with Warriors in the Workplace and is staffed entirely by veterans.  

Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastics Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.

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