Thermoplastic Vulcanizates (TPV)

Thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs) combine the processing properties of thermoplastics with the physical properties of elastomers. The characteristics of TPVs are very similar to those of rubber: they are soft, flexible, and elastic.

At the same time, the thermoplastic phase allows the material to be processed on standard plastic processing equipment such as injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, etc. Our products are fully recyclable.

Types of Thermoplastic Elastomers

TPV is one of the three categories of thermoplastic elastomeres. They are differentiated according to their composition:

Styrene-block-copolymer-based TPEs are commonly referred to as TPE-S. TPE-S are typically based on SEBS, SBS, and SEPS. SBS compounds are used in applications with low requirements for UV-stability and thermal strength. SEBS compounds are weather-resistant and possess high temperature resistance.

Go to Symflex® B Go to Symflex® S

TPVs, Thermoplastic Vulcanizates or Vulcanized Thermoplastic Elastomers, constitute a specialized group within TPE. They contain an elastomer phase (dynamically vulcanized EPDM), distributed in a polyolefin phase, thus granting these materials rubber-like properties. These compounds have excellent compression set, high elasticity, and are resistant to chemicals and oils. Their temperature resistance is also outstanding.

Go to Symflex® V

TPO, Thermoplastic Olefin blends, are a group of polyolefin (polypropylene)-based and EPR (Ethylene-Propylene-Rubber) modified compounds, which possess properties of rubber yet are processed like ordinary thermoplastics.

Go to Symflex® T

Production of TPV

What is TPV?

TPV stands for thermoplastic vulcanizates, a subgroup of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), which are produced by a special process of dynamic vulcanisation.

Vulcanisation process

In this process, an elastomer is vulcanised within a thermoplastic matrix. This takes place during mixing and melting, whereby the elastomer is chemically cross-linked while the thermoplastic component remains meltable.

Result of vulcanisation

The result is a complex material that combines the ease of processing of thermoplastics with the elastic properties of vulcanised rubber. TPV can be moulded and recycled like plastic, but at the same time offers the elasticity and flexibility of rubber.

This in-depth look at how TPV bridges the gap between the traditional material categories of plastics and elastomers, making it a versatile material in a variety of applications.

Properties and advantages

TPV is characterised by a number of valuable properties:

High flexibility

TPV remains flexible even at extremely low temperatures, making it ideal for applications where flexibility under variable climatic conditions is important.

Ecological sustainability

Compared to conventional vulcanised rubber, TPV can be recycled efficiently. This reduces waste and supports sustainable production processes by allowing the material to be recycled after use.

Chemical and weather resistance

TPV offers excellent resistance to a wide range of chemical substances, including oils, greases and many solvents. In addition, it is highly resistant to environmental influences such as UV radiation and ozone, which improves the material's ageing resistance and extends its service life.

Lasting elasticity

TPV retains its elastic properties over a wide range of temperatures and mechanical stresses. This makes it particularly useful for dynamic applications where permanent elasticity is required.

These properties make TPV a versatile material that is well suited for demanding applications in various industries.

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TPV (thermoplastic vulcanisates) is used in a wide range of applications that are characterised by the special properties of the material:

Automotive industry:

TPV is used extensively for components such as seals, hoses, bumper protection and other parts that require high resistance to weathering and wear.
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In the construction industry, TPV is used in window and door seals and roof membranes, where it is valued for its weather and UV resistance.
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Consumer goods:

TPV is also used in everyday products, including toys, household appliances and sports equipment, where flexibility and durability are required. These examples emphasise the versatility of TPV and its suitability for applications that require a combination of robustness, elasticity and durability.
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Medical technology:

Due to its biocompatibility and sterilisability, TPV is also used in medical applications, e.g. in flexible hoses, seals and other components that are subjected to frequent cleaning and sterilisation processes.
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Chemical structure of TPV

Basic concept of the structure

TPV is a complex material consisting of a mixture of elastomers and thermoplastics. The key to its structure lies in dynamic vulcanisation.

Dynamic vulcanisation

During production, the elastomer is vulcanised, i.e. chemically cross-linked, within a thermoplastic matrix. This is done by heating the compound, which causes sulphur bridges to form between the polymer chains of the elastomer.

Matrix of thermoplastic and elastomer

In TPV, the cross-linked elastomer is finely distributed and embedded in the thermoplastic matrix. The elastomer particles are permanently cross-linked and remain stable even after the thermoplastic has melted during processing.

Properties due to structure

This unique structure enables TPV to behave like an elastomer - it is flexible and stretchable, but can be processed and recycled like a thermoplastic. The cross-linking within the thermoplastic matrix gives TPV excellent mechanical properties and resistance to environmental influences.

Thanks to this specific chemical and physical structure, TPV offers a combination of the advantages of rubber and plastic, making it suitable for many demanding applications.

Development potential of TPV

Current market position

TPV is already firmly established in markets such as the automotive industry, construction and medical technology. Its properties such as high flexibility, chemical resistance and weather resistance make it a favoured material in many applications.

Technological advances

The further development of vulcanisation techniques and material compositions can further improve the properties of TPV. In particular, advances in nanotechnology could increase the physical properties such as strength and durability of TPV.

Collaboration and partnerships

Strategic partnerships between material scientists, product developers and industry representatives could deepen the knowledge of TPV and expand its applications.

These development directions show that TPV offers great potential for growth and innovation in various sectors, supported by technological advances and an increasing demand for sustainable material solutions.

Sustainability and recycling

A growing focus on sustainable materials emphasises the importance of recycling TPV. Research and development is aimed at improving the recyclability of TPV and using it in closed loops.

Expanding the areas of application

The development of new TPV formulations could expand the areas of application, for example in electronics for flexible and durable components or in the energy sector for special seals and insulation.

FAQ Thermoplastic vulcanisates

TPV stands for thermoplastic vulcanizates, a group of thermoplastic elastomers that combine the properties of rubber with the processability of plastics.

TPV is characterised by high flexibility, good chemical and weather resistance and recyclability.

TPV is recyclable and helps to reduce environmental impact by minimising the use of disposable materials.

Yes, TPV formulations can be adapted to specific requirements to achieve desired properties such as hardness or colour.

There are various types of TPV that differ in their composition and properties to fulfil specific application requirements.

 TPV is produced by dynamic vulcanisation, in which an elastomer is cross-linked within a thermoplastic matrix.

TPV is used in the automotive industry, construction, medical technology and many other areas.

TPV remains flexible at low temperatures and retains its properties at high temperatures.

TPV can be processed by common plastic processing methods such as injection moulding, extrusion or blow moulding.

Other thermoplastic elastomers such as TPEs or silicone rubber can serve as alternatives to TPV in some applications, depending on specific requirements.