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The global Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) market has entered the mature stage and the global TPE demand volume has reached 4.05 million tons. At present, in the TPE consumption structure, the proportion of TPS, TPO, TPU and TPEE is 44%, 31%, 9.5% and 6.5% respectively, and other kinds of TPE accounts for about 9%. Styrene TPE still occupies the top position, but the product share shows the downward trend. Currently, TPO has entered automobile and medicine markets, and also began to replace traditional thermoset rubber and PVC materials, so the market share of TPO will expand continuously and the consumption will increase rapidly.
At present, China’s TPE has developed into more than ten varieties, and has replaced a part of rubber, synthetic rubber and plastic. TPE is widely used in auto parts industry (tubes, belt, mat and plate, etc.), construction industry, shoemaking, medical products, sealing products, packaging products, electric wire and cable, daily life products, toys, sports equipments, hardware, power tools, communications, electronic products, household appliances, adhesives and the modification of polymer materials. Of which, followed by construction industry, medical and daily life product field, automobile industry is the most important TPE application field, which accounting for about one third.
In recent years, people pay more attention to product safety instead of production safety, namely, people concern more about the environmental protection products. TPE is a new type of environmental protection material, so people conducted a mass of researches on TPE and has achieved breakthrough in energy saving and three wastes (waste gas, waste water and waste residues) reduction aspects. While the research works of TPS synthetic technology, the polymer characterization work is also deepened. This situation is specifically manifested in two aspects, namely, the increase of separate analytical technical content and the combination of different analytical techniques. At present, people has developed atomic force microscope (AFM) which can further study the TPE. In short, TPE will develop in the following aspects:
- Adopt new technology produced TPE;
- TPE composite technology;
- Cross-linking TPE with durability;
- Creation of new demand which related with ecology and material recycling;
- Develop new TPE market.