Super-soft plastics - TPU without plasticiser

The handles of electric tools, cellular phones and laptops have a common requirement, namely an agreeable "dry" feel and a good texture. The secret lies in the material. An innovative range of soft plasticiser-free thermoplastic polyurethanes from BASF fulfils this characteristics.

Super-soft plastics - TPU without plasticiser


Material combinations of two different hardnesses are often used in order to combine different and sometimes conflicting plastic properties. Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are used in many cases as soft components. To date, for the production of thermoplastic polyurethanes with hardness levels below 75 Shore A, it has been necessary to use plasticisers. Migration of plasticisers, can however, lead to an increase in the hardness of the final product.

BASF has succeeded in development of thermoplastic polyurethanes that provide permanent, low hardness levels without the addition of plasticiser. The basis for this is a targeted modelling of the products' molecular structure. This has enabled economical processing, good mechanical properties, and softness in the final products.

Super-soft plastics - TPU without plasticiser


Non-plasticised thermoplastic polyurethanes with hardnesses below 75 Shore A have previously had little practical interest on account of their moderate property levels and problematic processing. The new development by BASF has now introduced three non-plasticised Elastollanâ types in a hardness range between 50 and 70 Shore A which no longer suffer these disadvantages. Designated Elastollan SPF, super-soft plastics with Shore hardnesses starting at 53 A are now available which combine excellent processing properties while retaining the familiar property characteristics of TPU. In combination with stiffer thermoplastics (hard/soft combination), products can be made with an agreeable touch.

In addition to a low hardness, decisive factors for selecting thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) include tensile strength, abrasion and tear resistance, as well as environmental and temperature resistance. The mechanical properties of the newly developed Elastollanâ types all exhibit the typically high level, recognised in thermoplastic polyurethanes. As hard/soft compounds increase in significance, the ability to adhere to thermoplastics has become an increasingly important criterion. The newly developed types have been tested for their adhesive qualities to different thermoplastic materials, in a large number of combinations. Other advantages are found in the material's agreeable texture and as a consequence of the "dry" feel soiling ( e.g. dust accumulation ) is lower than for other TPEs. Also the materials can be easily coloured. Super-soft Elastollan can be processed on conventional injection moulding machines or by extrusion.