Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) have the elastic behavior of rubber and the processability of thermoplastics. The Fredonia Group has forecast that demand will expand by 6.4 percent per year to around 2.15 million tons in 2006. There is potential for these new, exciting materials to expand into the much larger thermoset rubber markets. The latest Rapra Review Report, "Developments in Thermoplastic Elastomers," includes comparisons between the two material types. The review covers the structure, chemistry, performance and application of TPEs for the most recent 8-year history since the previous Rapra Review Report by J.A. Brydson was published. There are three major types of TPE: block copolymers, rubber/plastic blends, and dynamically vulcanized rubber/plastic alloys known as thermoplastic vulcanisates. The chemistry of these materials - and how their unique properties are achieved - are discussed in this review.
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