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Soft plasticizer-free TPU is aimed at footwear

December 12, 2012

WICKLIFFE, OHIO (Dec. 12, 10:50 a.m. ET) — Lubrizol Corp. is offering soft plasticizer-free thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) for use in athletic footwear.

These Estane grades are an alternative to plasticized TPUs, providing an option “for manufacturers sensitive to today’s more stringent requirements,” says the Wickliffe-based manufacturer.

Conventional soft TPUs contain a phthalate-type plasticizer that may be subject to regulation by environmental agencies. Such plasticizers can also gradually migrate to the surface of the molded product, creating poor aesthetics and altering the bond strength.

These plasticizer-free grades have the same performance of the company’s engineered polymers, including excellent flexibility, softness, abrasion resistance and moldability.

They are available in both a polyester series (Estane T460AH, Estane T460A, Estane T465A and Estane T470A) and a polyether series (Estane T365A and Estane T370A). Lubrizol says they range between 60A to 77A Shore hardness and offer high transparency and outstanding UV stability compared with plasticizer-containing TPUs, “qualities which best fit various shoe accessory components.” These products are also ideal as replacements for rubber and PVC in various molding applications, the company adds.

“The footwear industry is facing significant challenges in a fast-moving competitive environment,” said Justin Park, Lubrizol’s global marketing manager for footwear, in a statement. “Our soft plasticizer-free portfolio is just one of the ways Lubrizol is positioning itself as a global solutions provider for the athletic footwear industry.”