TPE makes up for the shortage of silicone materials in the recovery, cost and price. As TPE comes to have more varieties and application, TPE is the best substitute for silicone.
What is Silicone material?
Silicone is a thermosetting elastomer with the advantages of safety and non-toxicity, insoluble in water and any solvent, non-toxic and odorless, stable in chemical properties, and not reacting with any substance except strong alkali and hydrofluoric acid. It features high adsorption performance, good thermal stability, and stable chemical properties. It was at first used widely in adult products such as silicone sex doll, and food products.
What is TPE material?
TPE is a kind of thermoplastic elastomer, which is environmentally friendly and non-toxic, easy to coloring, smooth and soft, and has a hardness range of 0A-120A. It is easy to be processed, does not need vulcanization, can be recycled and utilized, and reduces the cost.It can be coated with PP, PE, PC, PS, ABS and other plastic materials.(Two injection molding), and it can also be moulded separately.
The differences between TPE and Silicone:
a. Melt Temperature
TPE is a variety of elastomer materials with rubber elasticity at room temperature and melt flowing at high temperature. Silicone is a kind of special rubber, which has good mechanical strength, wear-resistance and high temperature resistance after crosslinking. It is a sort of thermosetting rubber. After vulcanization, it will not melt and burn when the temperature is too high. The product of complete combustion is water and silica.
b. Analytical Structure
They differ in their analytical structure: Silicone is the elastomer with its main chain linked by silicon oxygen, and its side chain is generally methyl class, that is, CH3.TPE is a thermoplastic elastomer with styrene, olefins and polyurethane. The main difference between them is that one is SI02 structure and the other is CC structure.
c. Processing Performance
From the point of view of processing performance: Silicone gel is usually molded by hydraulic press. Some liquid silica gel can be injected into injection molding machine, but it also contains crosslinking such a chemical process. The processing cycle is relatively long, and waste scrap can not be recycled. TPE is a thermoplastic material, which can be injected and extruded. There is no cross-linking. Overall, the processing cycle is shorter than that of silica gel, and the waste scrap can be recycled.
d. Temperature Resistance
Silicone is superior to TPE in high temperature resistance. Temperature resistance of silica gel is generally 200 degrees between 300 degrees, and TPE generally TPE heat resistance 130-150 degrees Celsius, aging and cracking under the higher temperature.
The price of silicone is generally more than 5000USD per ton, while the price of general TPE is between 2000-5000 USD. The price of TPE is more advantageous than that of silicone materials, except these special TPE materials, such as halogen-free flame retardant, food grade and so on.
From the cost point of view, the waste of silicone can not be recovered while TPE waste, nozzle material, scrap and so on can be completely recycled, so that TPE can save more costs. Both point 5 and point 6 show the reason that silicone sex dolls are more expensive than TPE sex dolls.
From the point of elasticity, silicone material has excellent elasticity. The silicone is a vulcanized crosslinking system with 100% elastic recovery. TPE has good elasticity, as a thermoplastic elastomer with good resilience, but TPE physical crosslinking, so that there will be a certain permanent deformation. High molecular weight TPE materials have better resilience.
h. Surface Smoothness
From the point of surface smoothness, the surface smoothness of silicone has a wider range of hardness. Generally, 20-80A silica gel materials have excellent surface smoothness, and the surface is not easy to adhere to dust. The surface smoothness of TPE is slightly inferior to that of silica gel. The softer the TPE is, the greater the difference between the smoothness and silicone is.
i. Environmentally Friendly
In terms of environmental characteristics, silicone is more environmentally friendly than TPE, and it has passed American food-grade FDA 21CFR 177.2600. TPE excellent environmental protection materials contains no halogen, no o benzene plasticizer, no bisphenol A, no nonyl phenol NP and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), in accordance with ROHS REACHHN EN71. As for the US food-grade test 21CFR 177.2600, the industry generally thinks that it is very difficult to pass, for it requires higher for TPE blending system.