Detroit — Anil Bhowmick, a professor of eminence at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, explained thermoplastic elastomers in his keynote speech at Antec 2019, drawing on his 35 years studying the materials.
TPEs combine rubber, which is a thermoset and can't be recycled, with plastics to make a flexible, recyclable material. Bhowmick said rubber can solve some of the problems with plastics, including poor flexibility, low elongation at break and low tensile strength.
Bhowmick won the Society of Plastics Engineers' Fred Schwab Education Award at Antec in Detroit. His speech kicked off the TPE technical paper session. He addressed issues of morphology, blending materials, TPEs with nanostructures and applications such as car window seals, where thermoplastic vulcanizate is replacing rubber.
TPEs are projected to grow worldwide by 5.5 percent over the next five years, Bhowmick said. Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region and is projected to hold a market share of about 53 percent by 2022, he said.