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Factors Affecting Performance in Rubber Replacement Applications

SpecialChem / Feb 10, 2009

Where an elastomeric or flexible material is needed for an application, a TPE is always a potential for consideration. TPEs have advantages over conventional thermoset rubbers including reduced costs, more consistent production and lower toxicity, whilst still achieving high mechanical performance coupled with exceptional chemical resistance. It is common for material suppliers to publish curves of tensile strength at various temperatures and these are certainly relevant, provided you make allowances for the fact that they are produced from perfectly moulded test bars. What is often overlooked though is that the rate of change of strain is important to the performance of the material. Take a typical example of a TPE used to take up tolerance in a clamping situation.The material exhibits certain properties which can be found on the relevant curve. If that same material were to be chosen for an automotive airbag 'door', experiencing severe and sudden stretching when the airbag is activated, the tensile strength and elongation would be quite different, even though it is the same material.

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