The first ionomer-based TPE is expected to break new ground for durable TPEs in more demanding consumer and automotive applications.
The first ionomer-based TPE is expected to break new ground for durable TPEs in more demanding consumer and automotive applications. The Envision FX 5000 series from A. Schulman Inc., Akron, Ohio, reportedly shows significantly better scratch, abrasion, stain, and chemical resistance than standard TPVs and styrenic block copolymers. Ionomer-based TPE fills a price/performance gap between styrenic TPEs and olefinic TPVs and TPUs. It reportedly has better weatherability and uv resistance than ester- and ether-based TPUs and also lower specific gravity (0.90 versus 1.1 for TPU). The new TPE consists of a proprietary olefinic rubber and a special ionomer developed by A. Schulman. It has hardness values from 75 Shore A to 40 Shore D. Heat resistance is limited—only up to 90 C (194 F). Schulman sees strong potential in kitchenware, trim for small appliances, and office furniture. Another key application is automotive shifter knobs, which are currently made of TPU. An injection grade is offered first, with extrusion grades expected later.