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Softer and Lighter TPUs Target New Markets

SpecialChem / Jan 25, 2006

Thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) are elastomeric materials with a wide range of applications in automotive, electrical and electronic, medical, consumer product and industrial sectors. These polymers are increasingly in demand today because they exhibit exceptional strength, durability, and thermal and chemical resistance, yet can also be soft and light-weight. As a result, TPUs can offer high performance along with tactile properties that please consumers and weight reductions desired by auto companies and other manufacturers. The latest TPU grades also possess environmental and processing advantages. Like other thermoplastic elastomers, TPUs bridge the gap between flexible rubber and rigid thermoplastics. TPUs are polymers with alternating hard and soft domains. Chemically, they are prepared by the reaction of diisocyanates with long-chain and short-chain polyols; these reactions form urethane linkages between the polymer segments. The diisocyanates and short-chain polyols comprise the rigid portions of the polymer chains.

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