Testing Thermoplastic Elastomers with MRP

Research and development activities at Entech continue to expand the possibilities of using MRP in thermoplastics. This particular initiative involved several variations of MRP enhanced thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). After meeting with automotive materials engineers, it was clear that surface finish was an important criteria for determining whether or not MRP would become a viable compounding ingredient.

The Journey of Thermoplastic Elastomer Injection Molding with MRP

Early case studies of injection molding thermoplastic elastomers with MRP resulted in some very significant findings:

  1. The compounding formula must be carefully tailored to the specific part requirements, tooling and processing. This may sound obvious, but there are many nuances of using MRP as a filler.
  2. Finished parts showed significant improvements in weatherability, flexibility, memory, impact resistance, stress resistance and surface grip.
  3. Surface finishes, although much improved with subsequent trials, were still very crude.

This led the Entech team to explore many variations of compounds, tooling designs and processing recipes. The first breakthrough came with a sample showing the incredible details achieved with cross hatching and highly polished reflective surfaces. Watch Video

That brings us to the current sample being featured in this write-up. Tooling inserts were used to create six new finishes. The objective was to show the amazing detail that can be accomplished. With the extreme detail comes an almost unlimited variety of surface finishes ranging from a “suede feel” to almost holographic like imagery. Simulated leather, wood and marble like treatments are also shown.

What Does This Mean for Product Designers?

First, it means that we have real test results for a material data sheet which can be downloaded here.

Second, it means there are physical samples available that designers can use to explore applications. We’ve compiled a list of applications that would surely benefit from improved weatherability, flexibility, memory, impact resistance, stress resistance and surface grip. If you would like to request a sample, please contact us.

Third, the desire for OEM’s to include recycled content in their products is on the rise and here to stay. We think finding viable and value added uses for recycled tires is not only the right thing to do but also a real economic opportunity.